Original Draft of Lou Gehrig's Farewell Speech Discovered

Holy crap I’m dyingLong thought to be spontaneous, recent evidence that has come to light has shown that New York Yankee great Lou Gehrig’s famous farewell speech was in fact carefully written out beforehand and reworked many times.

On July 4th, 1939 the Yankees held Lou Gehrig day and between games of a double header the dying Yankee captain (played by Gary Cooper in the iconic movie) addressed the crowd.

The manuscript of Gehrig’s speech, often called the “Gettysburg Address” of baseball, written in Gehrig’s own hand contains much that was penciled out, with notations in another hand, presumably Gehrig’s wife Eleanor.

The speech started with the famous sentence, “Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got.  Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”

Yet the manuscript’s original beginning was different:

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got.  I don’t know who gave me this Asian clap but God it burns when I pee.  Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth – my doctor found a cream I apply to my genitals that helps soothe the burning sensations.

This sentence was crossed out by Gehrig’s wife who wrote, “probably not a good idea to say this, Lou.”

The speech continued with Gehrig extolling the virtues of his current manager, Joe McCarthy, “that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today.”

In the manuscript that sentence continued with:

I mean, I know he’s Irish and all.  But as long as we don’t use the same bathroom I’m fine.  Could be worse – at least he’s not Greek.

This part was also crossed out by Eleanor, who wrote in the margin, “I can live with pissing off the Irish but the Greek scare me.”

And of course there is the justifiably famous ending sentence of “So I close in saying that I may have had a bad break but I have an awful lot to live for.”

This sentence was written by his wife, replacing Gehrig’s original summation:

So I close in saying that I might have had a bad break.  No shit people I’m dying here.  Well, if I’m going down you all are.  I bought some explosives from Dimaggio’s Mafia friends and placed them around the stadium.  Say goodbye to your asses people.

Eleanor crossed out the sentence and in the margins she wrote, “Dimaggio is a punk. The explosives he sold us were fake.  Remember to rip him a new one!”

Historians of baseball are very enthusiastic about the manuscript find and say that it really helps humanize Gehrig.  Said one:

He used to be my hero.  But now when I think of him I want to take a cold shower and curl up in the fetal position.

The manuscript will be on display through April at the New York Public Library.



4 Responses

  1. Strange.

    Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” is often considered the ‘Lou Gehrig Farewell Speech’ of American government.

    Also, everyone should fear the Irish. The Greeks got nothing on the Micks.

  2. Manhattan Infidel says:

    CRS: Lincoln: Four score and seven years ago our forefathers eschewed the designated hitter.

    As for the Irish/Greek controversy. You may have a point. Irish soda bread is the hardest known substance on Earth and can kill from 100 yards away.

  3. innominatus says:

    Oh? He said earth?

    All these years I thought he was saying “luckiest guy on da face of da oiyth.”

  4. Manhattan Infidel says:

    Inn: As Tony Curtis said in his Bronx accent in one of his early movies where he played a prince: “Yonda lies da castle of my fadda da king!”

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