Saturday, July 4, 2009

It's Henry Wiggen's birthday!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

For baseball fans and Mark Harris fans, July 4 has a different meaning, though. Today is Henry Wiggen's birthday! According to "The Southpaw" and other books in the Wiggen series, Henry "Author" Wiggen was born July 4, 1931, in Perkinsville, New York.

Happy Birthday, Author! Thanks for the continuing inspiration you provide on this blog.

July 4 is also a special day for non-fictional baseball history. On this day 70 years ago, Lou Gehrig gave his farewell speech - the "Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth" speech - at Yankee Stadium.

Major League Baseball has created a program called 4ALS to help find a cure Lou Gehrig's Disease. Check out the Web site here.

All big-league players will be wearing a 4ALS patch today, and every Major League game today Gehrig's speech will be read during the Seventh Inning Stretch.

For those of us not lucky enough to be attending a ball game today, here's some footage from July 4, 1939, at Yankee Stadium. It's not the whole speech, but it's a good compilation of the day's events:

The full text of the speech can be read, and heard, here.

--Matt Kelsey

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