Gerald R. Ford walks with Darrell Johnson, manager of the Boston Red Sox, and George “Sparky” Anderson, manager of the Cincinnati Reds, before the start of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 7/13/76.
-from the Ford Library
Babe Ruth’s Major League Baseball Debut, 100 Years Ago
George Herman “Babe” Ruth made his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox one hundred years ago on July 11, 1914. Originally signed as a pitcher, Ruth quickly established a reputation for hitting, breaking the single season home run record by 1919. Ruth played with the Red Sox for 5 years until his contract was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919 (and triggering the now-reversed “Curse of the Bambino” and denying Boston another World Series title for 86 years).
Ruth is seen in this unidentified newsreel excerpt, circa 1919. Based on the clues in the title frame, our best guess is this was the September 8, 1919 Red Sox-Yankees game at the New York Polo Grounds, when Ruth hit his 26th home run of the season.
(This footage is part of a documentary film collection donated to the National Archives by CBS in 1967)
Lou Gehrig, the “Luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
In 1939, the Fourth of July coincided with Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium. A day usually reserved for parades and fireworks was transformed into one of the most solemn, heart-wrenching, and inspiring moments in the history of sports. It was here, before 62,000 fans, that Gehrig proclaimed he was the “Luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
After a few games into the 1939 season, Gehrig’s performance had noticeably declined. On May 2, Gehrig took himself out of the lineup for the first time in 2,130 consecutive games. Unbeknownst to him, he would never play again.
Soon after Gehrig’s streak came to an end, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease he is synonymous with to this day. After hearing the news, the Yankee clubhouse made arrangements to honor their longtime all-star.
On July 4, 1939, the Yankees played a double header against the Washington Senators. Between the two games, players, coaches, and other notable figures came out to shower Gehrig with gifts and kind words. The Yankees also began a new baseball tradition as they retired Gehrig’s number 4 uniform.
Gehrig almost did not speak. As the ceremony came to an end and the microphones were being hauled away, the “Iron Horse” decided to say a few words. As Gehrig fought away tears, he made one of the most iconic speeches of all time.
It seems appropriate that Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day fell on Independence Day. In his famous Declaration, Thomas Jefferson ascribed that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Despite his grim diagnosis and tragic decline, Gehrig embraced Jefferson’s unalienable rights. As he famously said, “I may have gotten a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”
Watch the newsreel on the National Archives YouTube Channel, and read more about Gehrig’s iconic speech via Media Matters » “An Awful Lot to Live For”: Lou Gehrig’s Final Season in the News
Universal News Volume 11, Release 786, Story #5, July 5, 1939
It’s time for the 2014 World Cup!
This year Brazil is hosting the tournament. Football great Edson Arantes Nascimento, better known as Pelé, helped lead the Brazilian national team to three World Cup victories in 1958, 1962, and 1970.
Pelé met with President Ford in the Rose Garden on June 28, 1975, and gave him some pointers on how to juggle a soccer ball.
"…200 yards from the wire, Pensive makes his bid and comes through like lightning."
Excerpted from “ALLIED PATROLS IN ACTION ON ANZIO BEACH [ETC.], 1944”. Motion Picture Films from “United News” Newsreels, 1942 - 1945
"Pensive" wins the 70th running of the Kentucky Derby, held 70 years ago in 1944 against the backdrop of World War II.
"Famous ‘Yank’ Steps Down: DETROIT, MICH.
—-Lou Gehrig, colorful Yankee first baseman, pioneer of over 2000 straight games in his 15 years ‘at bat’, takes himself out of the line-up before the game with the ‘Tigers’. He hopes to make a come-back!”
Seventy-five years ago on May 2, 1939, New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig voluntarily benched himself prior to a game against the Detroit Tigers, following a dramatic decline in his performance, and ending his streak of 2,130 consecutive games. Gehrig would not take the field again, and would eventually be diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He succumbed to the disease only two years later, on June 2, 1941.
The Fiftieth Running of the Boston Marathon, April 20, 1946
"One hundred and one long distance runners compete in the fiftieth annual marathon race of over 26 miles at Boston in the United States. Among the runners are former winners and young hopefuls. Through the suburbs of Boston the runners make their way. And all eyes are on courageous Stylianos Kyriakides of Greece, who passes last year’s winner. Kyriakides goes on to win in 2 hours, 29 minutes, 27 seconds and gain the laurel wreath."
"…it’s the United States Slalom Team that mounts a surprise. They were given little chance in the downhill test until Jimmy Huega of California came dancing through the gates. His fast final run assured him a third place…"
Watching today’s Men’s Slalom at Sochi? 50 years ago at the 1964 Innsbruck Winter Games, skier Jimmy Huega won the bronze medal for the United States in the Men’s Slalom event.
Following the Bobsleigh and Luge events at Sochi? In 1980 the US Team needed congressional intervention:
Congress in the Archives will feature staff posts on our blog. Today’s post comes from Sharon Fitzpatrick.
In preparation for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY, Congress passed H.R. 5146, a bill to provide duty-free entry of competition bobsleds and luges. The House Committee on Ways and Means reported, “The President’s Commission on Olympic Sports agrees that a major impediment to participation in these sports is the high cost of equipment. There are no American bobsled or luge manufacturers and this legislation would not adversely affect any United States industry.”
As shown in the document above, the bill was approved by conference report and signed into law on November 9, 1978.
Bill File for H.R. 5146, 11/9/1978, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives
"Jean Saubert wins Uncle Sam’s first medal - a Bronze - as she places third."
Ready for today’s Women’s Slalom at Sochi? 50 years ago Jean Saubert won the bronze at the Innsbruck Winter Olympics on February 1, 1964, the United States’ first medal at the 1964 games.
"Scott Allen…skates right into the heart of the crowd as he captures a bronze medal for Uncle Sam; only fourteen years old…"
50 years ago at the 1964 Innsbruck Winter Games, 14 year old figure skater Scott Allen wins the bronze medal for the United States in Men’s Figure Skating, becoming the youngest Olympic medalist in an individual Winter event.
Are you fired up for the Sochi Winter Olympics?
Here’s a flashback from 50 years ago from the 1964 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, courtesy of our colleagues at National Archives’ Motion Picture Preservation Lab:
This Week in Universal News: The 1964 Winter OlympicsWINTER OLYMPICS RECORDS FALL AT INNSBRUCK: The eyes of 37 nations are on Innsbruck, Austria as their favorite sons – and daughters – vie for the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. A Russian husband and wife team win the pair figure skating. The Ski races are highlighted by Egon Zimmerman’s victory in the downhill. Great Britain wins her third Gold Medal in the history of Winter Olympics as the team of Bony Nash and Robin Nixon win by 12/100th of a second. Christine and Marielle Boitschel, representing France, run one and two in the women’s Slalom. Jean Saubert wins Uncle Sam’s first medal – a Bronze – as she places third.
It’s #SuperBowl Sunday! Our staff at the National Archives at Seattle and the National Archives at Denver are getting ready to cheer on their teams.
In the meantime, here are ten facts about the Presidents and football to keep you busy before you dive into the chips and dip. (Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt helped to legalize the forward pass? Or that Dwight Eisenhower was injured tackling Jim Thorpe?)
Herbert Hoover, Secretary of War Patrick Hurley, and members of both teams signed this football auctioned off at the 1930 Army-Navy game in Yankee Stadium to raise money for the unemployed.
Henry Louis “Lou” Gehrig made his major league debut with the New York Yankees 90 years ago on June 15, 1923.
Letter of Consent for Lou Gehrig. U.S. District Court. Hillerich & Bradsby Company versus The Hanna Manufacturing Company, Inc., 06/28/1929 - 04/24/1934
This item is a letter of consent signed by Gehrig and filed as part of an equity suit claiming trademark infringement and the violation of the plaintiff’s exclusive right to use certain baseball players’ names on their baseball bats.
INDIANAPOLIS 500, 1946, ca. 05/30/1946
From the Motion Picture Films file of the Ford Motor Company Collection, ca. 1903 - ca. 1954
Dormant from 1942-1945, May 30, 1946 saw the first running of the Indy 500 following World War II at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with Canadian driver George Robson finishing in first place.
(You can just make out the pace car, a Lincoln Continental, driven by Henry Ford II.)