Major League Baseball will hold an annual Lou Gehrig Day beginning on June 2, 2021 to honor the late New York Yankees first baseman and raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Gehrig was diagnosed with the disease at age 36, promptly forcing him to retire. He died two years later on June 2, 1941.
The two-time MVP and Triple Crown winner became the first MLB player to have a team retire his jersey number when the Yankees honored Gehrig's No. 4. He retired on the final contest of a historic stretch of 2,130 consecutive games played - a record that would stand until Cal Ripken Jr. broke it in 1995.
"June 2 was specifically chosen as the date for Lou Gehrig Day as it marks when Gehrig became the Yankees starting first baseman, thus cementing the start of his incredible streak of consecutive games played, as well as the day he passed from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease," the MLB press release stated.
To commemorate the occasion, all players will wear a jersey patch that says "4-ALS."
The announcement video also features Hall of Fame pitcher Catfish Hunter, who was diagnosed with ALS in his early 50s and died one year later.
Oakland Athletics outfielder Stephen Piscotty, whose mother died from ALS, also issued a statement on MLB's introduction of Lou Gehrig Day:
The Yankees play the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on June 2. Teams without scheduled games on June 2 will observe Lou Gehrig Day on June 3.