Mid-Summer Classic Auction 2013


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/11/2013
Seventy-four years ago Lou Gehrig strode to the plate for what would be his final at-bat in baseball. The crowd roared its approval. Gehrig was so racked with pain that day, he didn't want to play. But he was moved by the fans' demonstration and the same obligation that pushed him to play in 2,130 consecutive games.

This dramatic scene wasn't played out in Yankee Stadium. It happened in Kansas City. On a hot summer day, June 12, 1939, fans had no way of knowing that Gehrig would never swing the bat again, that the only other time he would wear those Yankee pinstripes would be less than a month later during his famous "luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech on July 4. No one really knew this was the end, an anonymous finish to an unforgettable career.

Conventional wisdom and most history books suggest that Gehrig's career ended May 2, 1939. It was then that Gehrig, mysteriously slumping through a .143 season, pulled himself out of the lineup and ended his remarkable "Iron Man" streak. A bit lesser known, though, is the fact that Gehrig participated in an exhibition game pitting the New York Yankees against their top farm club, the old Kansas City Blues, more than a month later.

"I was fortunate enough," said Billy Hitchcock, who played third base at Ruppert Stadium that day for the Blues, "to see Lou Gehrig play his last game." Clearly, it wasn't vintage Gehrig. He played just three innings, took his spot as the No. 8 hitter in the lineup and went to the plate for only one at-bat. His body, frail and weakened, had already been racked by ALS. The disease -- formally called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis but now known simply as "Lou Gehrig's disease" -- would kill Gehrig two years later, just a few weeks short of his 38th birthday.

At the time of the game, though, doctors had not yet diagnosed Gehrig's condition. Players and fans alike knew something was wrong. That much was evident as Gehrig awkwardly labored through the motions. It wasn't until the next day, while Gehrig's Yankee teammates returned to New York, that Gehrig boarded a train bound for the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

This are program is from that very last game, played in Kansas City on June 11, 1939. The accordion-fold program has some minor paper loss on one fold but is overall G/VG. It is unscored with the pre-printed lineup showing Gehrig as a bench player. Few expected he would he would make his last, lone plate appearance that day, making an ordinary event extraordinary and historic.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $150
Final prices include buyers premium.: $356
Number Bids:8
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