Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lucky Man

A law professor with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, has spurred Major League Baseball to raise money for research in an event on July 4, the 70th anniversary of the baseball great’s farewell speech.

Michael Goldsmith, 57, is a law professor at Brigham Young University and a former mob prosecutor. He learned he had the progressively paralyzing disorder in September 2006, the New York Times reports. In November 2008, he wrote an article in Newsweek called Batting for the Cure, urging baseball to make July 4 ALS-Lou Gehrig Day in an effort to raise money for a cure.

Goldsmith was profiled in November articles in the Deseret News and the New York Times.

Gehrig’s speech will be read at the seventh-inning stretch at all Major League ballparks where games are being played on July 4, according to Thirty ball clubs will auction items worn by players to raise money, and MLB will also make a contribution, the Times says.

The Speech
Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. 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. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?

Sure I’m lucky.
Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy?

Sure I’m lucky.
When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift - that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies -- that’s something.

When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter -- that’s something.

When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body -- it’s a blessing.

When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed -- that’s the finest I know.

So, I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for.

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