Gehrig Elected to College Baseball Hall of Fame's Veteran Class
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Columbia Athletics Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig will be one of four candidates to be inducted into the new National College Baseball Hall of Fame on July 3-4.
The class of pre-1947 candidates also includes fellow college baseball legends Christy Mathewson of Bucknell, Joe Sewell of Alabama and John "Jack" Barry of Holy Cross.
Gehrig starred in football and baseball at Columbia, starting at fullback and defensive tackle on the gridiron. On the baseball diamond, he soon began to attract attention for his prodigious home runs; the two most talked about were an opposite-field shot into a second-story window of the Journalism School and another that landed across College Walk, then a through city street.
Lou Gehrig, or "Columbia Lou" as he would come to be known, hit .444 with 8 home runs in 19 games as a sophomore in Morningside Heights before leaving to sign with the Yankees for a $1500 bonus. He still holds the Columbia record for strikeouts in a game with 17.
Gehrig was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in a special election and his number was retired, the first professional athlete ever to receive that honor. In January 1940, he became a member of the Parole Board, only to relinquish the job in the spring of 1941 when his illness intensified. He died in his sleep on June 2, 1941, 17 days short of his 38th birthday.
The National College Baseball Hall of Fame Veteran and Historical Committees will research and nominate individuals each year from this pre-1947 era, before the entire voting committee votes them on. These collegiate legends will be officially enshrined during a two-day July celebration of college baseball in Lubbock, Texas, as the ‘The Past Meets Present’.