MLB will begin a new annual tradition in 2021 as it plans to hold the first-ever "Lou Gehrig Day" on June 2.
Players and managers will wear a jersey patch honoring the Yankees legend, as well as sport a red "4-ALS" wristband that includes Gehrig's retired number with the club.
Gehrig was a standout slugger for New York from 1923-39. He smacked 493 homers in 17 seasons, playing in a then-record 2,130 consecutive games. But his legacy is far greater than the sum of his on-field accomplishments. Gehrig brought national attention to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease, which was later dubbed "Lou Gehrig's Disease." Gehrig's speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, is considered one of the most famous moments in MLB history.
"For the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break," Gehrig said during his speech. "Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans."
MLB plans to use Lou Gehrig Day as an avenue to raise money and awareness for those afflicted with ALS. Advocacy groups such as LG4Day—which worked to create a league-wide Lou Gehrig Day—will also be honored by MLB, per Passan.
MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson Day annually on April 15 as all players don Robinson's No. 42. Former Pirates outfielder and noted humanitarian Roberto Clemente is honored by MLB every Sept. 9.