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Lou Gehrig's signature remains one of the most desirable in all of sports. While he had plenty of time to sign his name as a member of the New York Yankees, Gehrig autographs remain quite scarce. As a rookie in 1923 and into his second and third seasons, Gehrig's autograph was very basic and childlike. As his popularity grew, Gehrig learned the art of signing his name. Not one to turn down many requests for signatures, Gehrig typically scrawled his name on a number of items during his playing days, especially album pages, which are the most frequently seen.
Gehrig's autograph was typically penned so every letter was legible but, if hurried, he would occasionally sign an abbreviated version dropping the "ou" and just signing "L. Gehrig." After his retirement from baseball in 1939, Gehrig signed very few items, with most of his correspondence and requests for his autograph handled by his wife Eleanor. His career and life was cut short by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Gehrig died in 1941, two years after retiring from baseball. Most of the Gehrig material that survives has been penned on team-signed baseballs. As was the custom with the Yankees and anywhere Babe Ruth played, the Sultan of Swat graced the sweet spot of baseball. Gehrig typically signed on a panel adjacent to Ruth's autograph. Single-signed examples of Gehrig's signature are rarely seen and are typically penned on the side panel of the ball, as if Gehrig was still awaiting the great Ruth to place his name on the sweet spot. While many fans and collectors realize the significance of having Gehrig's signature a part of their collection, what they fail to realize is how truly rare his signature is. When it came to social behavior, Gehrig was the antithesis of Ruth. Since Gehrig was a private man, he signed infrequently compared to his boisterous teammate.
Henry Louis Gehrig (1903-1941) played 2,130 consecutive games over 15 seasons, from 1925-1939 earning him the nickname “The Iron Horse.” His amazing record of durability and longevity stood for 56 years when Cal Ripken, Jr. broke it in 1995. Yankees sluggers Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth created the most lethal pairing pitchers in the American League during the 1920s and 1930s. Gehrig averaged 139 runs and 148 RBI for 13 consecutive seasons. In 1934, Gehrig captured the Triple Crown, hitting 49 home runs while batting .363 and driving an American League record 184 RBI. Lou Gehrig’s career was cut short when he contracted ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), later familiarly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. During Lou Gehrig’s 17 seasons (1923-1939) with the New York Yankees, he batted .340 with 493 home runs, 2,721 hits and 1,995 RBI. He was selected to 7 All-Star games, was a six-time World Series Champion and the American League Most Valuable Player twice (1927, 1928). Henry Louis Gehrig was unanimously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.