Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth
July 4, 2014 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Lou Gehrig's farewell speech at Yankee Stadium on its 75th anniversary. It was immortalized by Gary Cooper in the 1942 film Pride of the Yankees, although the speech as delivered in the movie differed a little bit from the actual speech. The Historic Films Stock Footage Archive has this video of the speech on Youtube. Today, Major League Baseball pays tribute to Gehrig by putting together a video in which contemporary players recite the speech. (Video of this is embedded in the first link).
posted by obscure simpsons reference (8 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Huh, I've never seen Pride of the Yankees, so I had never compared the two speeches. They really crushed the life out of it in the movie, didn't they? Compare:

Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?

to the movie's

I have had the great honor to have played with these great veteran ballplayers on my left - Murderers' Row, our championship team of 1927. I have had the further honor of living with and playing with these men on my right - the Bronx Bombers, the Yankees of today.

One's short and sweet and evocative, the other data-dumpy and overwritten.
posted by tavella at 1:45 PM on July 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Huh, I've never seen Pride of the Yankees...

It's...merely ok. If I were doing a baseball movie night, it definitely wouldn't make the cut. It probably wouldn't even be considered, honestly. It's not that it's bad, per se, it's just that it's not good in the way so many Hollywood biopics of that era are...earnestly schmaltzy, overly reverential, "Norman Rockwell" and all that. Now, it's not nearly as bad as The Babe Ruth Story with William Bendix. That one's a complete and embarrassing stinker, and easily the worst baseball, if not sports, movie ever made.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:07 PM on July 4, 2014

the other data-dumpy and overwritten

Doesn't really seem more so than this, though:
Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy?
posted by yoink at 2:07 PM on July 4, 2014

To me, those lines are calling out specific people and specific personal feelings about them, while the movie line is bland and corporate -- "Murderer's Row! Champeeeens of 27". There's a real sense of personal connection that is mostly squashed out of the movie version, and a distinctive voice that is rather distorted by adding in high-toned accents.
posted by tavella at 2:15 PM on July 4, 2014

Gary Cooper had never really played baseball, and Lefty O'Doul (a former Yankee) coached him, but he had to be doubled by Babe Herman. Cooper was right-handed, so the film was reversed so he appeared to be a lefty, like Gehrig.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:29 PM on July 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lou Gehrig was a class act, a fine gentleman and one helluva baseball player. Lou Gehrig is one of my heroes.

posted by 724A at 4:56 PM on July 4, 2014

Saw part of the modern players' version during a pre-game show, and it made me want to just watch the original instead.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 6:51 PM on July 4, 2014

Lou is a good Yankee. Of course, the only good Yankee is a dead Yankee.

/Red Sox fan.
posted by scottymac at 1:08 PM on July 5, 2014

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