#5: Lou Gehrig
When we move into the top five baseball players of all time, there is no dispute that THESE players are the absolute best of the best among those who have played the game, and at #5 Lou Gehrig was DEFINITELY one of the best!
During his 16 Year Career with the NY Yankees, Gehrig amassed an astounding resume: He was a 7X All Star, 6X World Series Champion, The AL MVP twice, the AL Batting Champ of 1934, a Triple Crown Winner (1934), 5X Leader in RBI for the AL, is only one of 18 to hit 4 home runs in a single game, had a career batting average of .340, hit 493 Home Runs, drove in 1995 Runs, and 2,721 hits.
Sadly, all of Gehrig’s accomplishments on the diamond were eclipsed when Gehrig disclosed that he was suffering from ALS in 1939, Later to be known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” According to the NY State Department of health,
“ALS is a progressive disease that destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord which control the muscles throughout the body. When these nerve cells (also called motor neurons) die, the brain can no longer send impulses (messages) to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. The disease most commonly afflicts people between the ages of 40 and 70. As many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time.
The earliest symptoms of the disease depend upon which nerves and muscles are first affected. Any muscle group may be the first to show signs of the disease. For example, the person may experience twitching and weakness of the muscles of the hands or lower legs. If the muscles of the face or throat are affected, the problem at onset would be difficulty with speaking, chewing, swallowing or movements of the tongue and face. If the muscles of the chest are affected the person may have difficulty breathing. In some instances the first symptoms may be involuntary weeping or laughing. In the beginning, muscle groups on only one side of the body may be affected, but as time passes, more and more muscles on both sides are involved and the patient becomes totally paralyzed. Yet, through it all, for the vast majority of people, their minds remain unaffected.
On June 2, 1941, at 10:10 pm, Gehrig died at his home.