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Lou Gehrig-Baseball's Iron Man The late Stephan Hawking-Cosmologist February 27, 2018
An online publication of The Anonymous Anything Society


  Lou Gehrig and Stephen Hawking, notable victims of Amyothrophic Lateral Sclerotic neurodegenerative disease (ALS).

    If you were around in June of 1941, you may have heard one of baseball's all-time great players make a brief and poignant speech (captured on film and available still on U-tube) on the day of his retirement from the New York Yankees. (Jimmy Stewart repeated it in the film, "Pride of the Yankees").

    "Fans" Gehrig said, "For the past two weeks, you may have been reading about the bad break I got, but today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth."

    Gehrig batted .313 in 1928. That year, he hit 166 home runs and had 212 RBI's (Runs batted In). By 1933, he had played in 1,306 consecutive games. He died in 1941, when he was only 37 years old.  

      

    The second photo was taken in the mid-1960s in Cambridge, England. By then, Stephen Hawking was already suffering from ALS. He is considered one the greatest physicist-cosmologists of all time. I was prompted to write this piece because Hawking will have died one year ago, March 10th of 2018.

    I don't pretend to have more than a hazy understanding of his theories of cosmology that explain to many great minds the relationship of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity to Quantum Mechanics. Hawking was 70, when he passed away.

    ALS,  amyotrophic progressive neuro (nerves) degenerative lateral sclerosis (hardening) disease (Greek "A"=no "Myo=muscle). ("Trophic"=Nourishment.) I hope this helps you understand some "doctorese." (When something in your body atrophies due to lack of nourishment, it dies.)

    According to the ALS Association, 20,000 people in the U.S. have ALS, and an additional 5,000 new patients in the USA are diagnosed with the affliction annually. That's approximately 15 new patients each day. A slightly greater numbers of males over females are affected and the age where most patients begin to exhibit symptoms is 40 to 50 years of age. 90 to 95 percent are "Sporadic" or non-related victims. 5 to 10 percent of ALS patients are "Familial," or inherit the malady from an ancestor.

    There's much, much more to learn. Here's a real puzzler: Military Veterans are twice as likely to suffer from ALS than persons who never served in the Armed Services. 

    Several new medications have been proven to effectively slow down the progression of the disease.

     Here's the Web Address for the ALS Association http://www.alsa.org

    Some ALS Victims include: Pitcher James "Catfish" Hunter, Senator Jacob Javits, Sesame Street Co-Creator Jon Stone, Boxer Ezzard Charles, Actor David Niven, NBA Player George Yardley, Entertainer Dennis Day, Actor Renee Zellweger, Jazz Musicians Charles Mingus and Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, Vice President Henry Wallace, NFL greats Steve Gleason, O.J. Brigance and Tim Shaw, General Maxwell Taylor and Chinese Communist Leader Mao Zedong. 

-Phil Richardson, Observer of the Human Condition and Storyteller 

    "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself."óJoseph Menchen

Our unending thanks to Jim Bromley, who programs our Archive of Prior Commentaries


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