The Luckiest Man on Earth

If you’re North American you likely know the story, or at least parts of it, even if you’re not a sports fan. Lou Gehrig was not, once upon a time, the name of a disease. He was the Iron Horse, one of the most lethal of the famed “Murderer’s Row” batting lineups of the New York Yankees of the 1920s and

Gehrig takes batting practice. What a swing he must have had!

‘30s. One day, an early part of the Gehrig story goes, the Yanks’ first baseman Wally Pipp needed a day off, and a young Gehrig filled in admirably. 2130 games (and 14 seasons) later, he asked to be taken out of the lineup in May of a strangely ineffective ’39 season, and within weeks had had confirmed a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), still known to many as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. On July 4, 1939, Yankees fans were given their chance to say farewell. By 1941 – on the same date that he replaced Pipp on his way to becoming baseball’s greatest-ever first baseman – he was dead, days before his 38th birthday.

Gehrig was a two-time MVP, six times a World Series champion, a Triple Crown performer, and still

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Not Supposed To Be Here: NBA Finals, America & LeBron

According to the mighty Grantland – no, not the iconic Golden Age of Sports-writer Rice but the Wise Guys Guide to Sports and Other Stuff We Watch on Flatscreens – we are 26 days from the opening of another NBA season. ( started counting down over 100 days out for this NFL season, such is the pigskin sickness in the Excited States of America.™ 1 ) In recent days, the countdown has included the following essential bits of news. Chandler Parsons digs fashion and wears trendy glasses and fashionably nerdy

Chandler Parsons, fashion plate. (Can’t be in the weight room *all* the time.) Photo from

hair. Kevin Durant is learning to be angry, while Pau Gasol is an unrepentant nice guy (actually, a surprisingly insightful short piece). The Philadelphia 76ers are the early favourites in the tanking derby to try to select Canada’s Andrew Wiggins in next June’s draft (he’s a Kansas freshman), something Grantland terms “Riggin’ for Wiggins”. Drake hearts the Raptors. The Blake-Griffin-as-Doctor-Dunkenstein days are over, according to Blake Griffin. In other news, JaVale McGee remains JaVale McGee. Some of these I actually read. Any port in a storm.

Mostly, though, I’m still looking backward to the 2013 Finals. I was pulling for the Spurs. I replay, as Tim Duncan will for the rest of his apparently fairly contented days, the easy putback he missed late in Game 7. I still can’t quite believe Ray Allen got both feet outside the three-point line for that game-tying miracle at the end of Game 6.

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