Jaffe: Remembering Lou Gehrig on the occasion of two anniversaries

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at SI’s The Strike Zone on June 3, 2013:

More than seven decades after his passing, Lou Gehrig is still the standard by which so many are measured, whether they’re elite first basemen, Yankee legends, uncannily durable athletes or lives cut tragically short. Thus it’s worth pointing out a couple of anniversaries connected to “The Iron Horse.”

On June 3, 1932, Gehrig, long since established as one of the game’s elite players but nevertheless still playing in the shadow of Babe Ruth, did something that no major leaguer, not even his more famous teammate (who by that point was 37 years old), had done in the 20th century: hit four home runs in a single game. He homered off Philadelphia A’s starter George Earnshaw in the first, fourth and fifth innings, then added another off reliever Roy Mahaffey in the seventh.

With the Yankees in the process of banging out 23 hits and 20 runs — not to mention a then-record 50 total bases in one game — that day at Shibe Park, Gehrig still had two more chances at bat. He grounded out against Rube Walberg in the seventh inning, but narrowly missed another homer in the ninth against Eddie Rommel when his drive to deep centerfield (dead center was 468 feet away from home plate) was caught by a leaping Al Simmons.

Read the full article here: http://mlb.si.com/2013/06/03/lou-gehrig-yankees-anniversaries/

Originally published: June 3, 2013. Last Updated: June 3, 2013.