When Lou Gehrig and Jackie Robinson were just a stamp away

From Michael Winerip at the New York Times on September 17, 2012:

I was recently rooting around in the crawl space under the house and came across two old letters that moved me greatly.

The first was postmarked Aug. 10, 1938, from Larchmont, N.Y. It was to my father, from one of baseball’s great players, Lou Gehrig. For many years, starting in the mid-1930s, my father supported himself as a freelance sportswriter. This was the Depression. He never made a lot of money and until going off to fight in World War II, he lived at home with his parents. Because he couldn’t afford to travel around interviewing ballplayers, he would type up questionnaires and mail bundles of them, with 3-cent, self-addressed envelopes, to major league stadiums all around the country.

It was, as they say, a different world. Even the stars answered. On the top of one of my father’s questionnaires, Lou Gehrig wrote: “Please pardon long delay. I just got to your letter. Sincerely, LG.”

My father’s questions were short and to the point, and so were Gehrig’s answers: Favorite pastime on long train trips? (bridge); Favorite sports except baseball? (reading, fishing); Greatest old-time players? (Wagner, Cobb, Ruth); Favorite movie star? (Irene Dunn) (sic); Strangest article you ever autographed? (“You’d be surprised!”)

View the original letters and read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/booming/18winerip.html



Originally published: September 17, 2012. Last Updated: September 17, 2012.

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