Klapisch: The baseball book that changed my life: “Luckiest Man”

From Bob Klapisch at The National Pastime Museum on October 21, 2015:

I first read Luckiest Man nearly a decade ago because, like most baseball fans, I’ve always been fascinated with the arc of Lou Gehrig’s life—both his rise and fall. He was a surprisingly complex man whose devastating disease still haunts millions of Americans. Gehrig’s tale still needs to be told, and although Jonathan Eig’s book wasn’t the first of many Gehrig biographies, it’s the most compelling.

In preparing to review Luckiest Man, I skimmed a few sections just to refresh my memory. Not that I wasn’t already familiar with the broad strokes, but I wanted to reconnect with Eig’s language and the heartbreaking way he describes Gehrig’s descent into ALS’s embrace.

What started as a sampling turned into a dive into the deep waters. I re-read Luckiest Man from start to finish—I literally couldn’t put it down. Just as it was the first time I opened the book, I kept hoping the outcome would be different.

Instead, I read how slowly and insidiously ALS spread through Gehrig’s body, and how little was known about the condition that was killing him. Even as the subtle clues kept popping up—his sluggish at-bats and diminished power through the 1938 season—Gehrig and his teammates kept believing it was merely a slump or one nagging injury after another. Always, it seemed, better times were just around the corner.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/luckiest-man-jonathan-eig

Originally published: October 21, 2015. Last Updated: October 21, 2015.