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1939 Lou Gehrig Signed Cleveland Indians Program
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $2,040
Cleveland Indians program, for a game against the New York Yankees on September 1, 1939, signed on an interior scorecard page by legendary Hall of Fame first baseman Lou Gehrig. Gehrig's signature has been scripted in pencil on the Yankees scorecard page and grades "8/9." Gehrig signed items dating from 1939, his final season, are rare because of his deteriorating physical condition. Just two months prior to signing this program, on June 13, 1939, Gehrig checked into the Mayo Clinic in the hopes of discovering the reason for his sudden loss of strength and coordination. One week later he was given the answer: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal disease of the central nervous system for which there is no cure. News of Gehrig's illness spread quickly and on July 4th the Yankees paid tribute to their captain by holding Lou Gehrig Day at Yankee Stadium. It was at that event that Gehrig gave the most moving speech in sports history, made famous by the immortal line, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." As noted by author Jonathan Eig in his definitive biography of Gehrig, Luckiest Man (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2005), despite his illness and the knowledge that he could no longer play, Gehrig remained on the Yankees roster for the remainder of the season: "Over the next several months, he [Gehrig] continued to attend every Yankee game, home and away, playing the part of cheerleader. He stood on the field as his teammates warmed up and sat on the bench when they played." Obviously, one lucky fan was fortunate enough obtain Gehrig's signature on this program during the Yankees' final game in Cleveland that season. The program has been neatly scored to record an 11-8 Yankees victory, which included two triples and six RBI by Joe DiMaggio. The program can be dated to 1939 because one of the interior pages lists Cleveland's home schedule for the second half of 1939. It can be definitively dated to September 1st because of the lineups listed and the score recorded. The twelve-page program (5.5 x 8.75 inches) displays clear tape along the spine and is otherwise in Excellent condition overall. This is a very scarce Lou Gehrig signed item dating from his final, tragic season in baseball. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,500+. SOLD FOR $2,040
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