A Summary of the Book "Lou Gehrig: A Quiet Hero" by Frank Graham

by Toby Welch

"Lou Gehrig: A Quiet Hero," by Frank Graham, is considered to be one of the most comprehensive books about a fascinating man's baseball career. It was first published in 1942, one year after Gehrig's death. As he played his entire 17-year baseball career for the New York Yankees, almost all of the book takes place in New York City. For people interested in the heyday of major league baseball, "Lou Gehrig: A Quiet Hero" is the ideal read.

Overview

"Lou Gehrig: A Quiet Hero" is not just a biography of an interesting man but a chronicle of baseball during the first four decades of the 20th century. At that time, baseball was already the national pastime. The book specifically focuses on the baseball side of Gehrig's life, starting with his early high school days in Brooklyn and his collegiate career at Columbia University. That is followed by his 17 years as a New York Yankee. If you are looking for information about Gehrig's life outside of baseball, this isn't the book to read.

Characters

Baseball fans interested in the early days of the sport will get a thrill out of the characters in this book. Beyond Lou Gehrig, this book mentions a lot of the baseball greats on and off the field: Babe Ruth, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, Bill Dickey, Billy Mitchell, Bill Mahaffey, Rogers Hornsby, George Earnshaw, John McGraw, Joe McCarthy, Connie Mack, Eleanor Gehrig, Charlie Grimm and Miller Huggins, among others.

Body of the Book

"A Quiet Hero" delves deep into Lou Gehrig's life. Born Henry Louis Gehrig, Lou played for the Yankees from 1923 to 1939. During those 17 years, Lou didn't miss one game. The book does a superb job of conveying Lou's humble attitude and how he showed up to play every day with a quiet, self-effacing spirit, a contradiction to his teammate, Babe Ruth. In 1939 when Lou was too weak to continue to be a Yankee, a Mayo Clinic doctor discovered he had an incurable muscular disorder, eventually termed Lou Gehrig's disease. Lou, his family and friends, New York and the world of baseball felt the loss of a man stricken down, and mourned his death two years later.

Frank Graham

Frank Graham was obviously a baseball fan. Besides "Lou Gehrig: A Quiet Hero", Graham wrote three additional books before his death in 1965: "New York Giants: An Informal History of a Great Baseball Club"; "Brooklyn Dodgers: An Informal History"; and "New York Yankees: An Informal History." Graham was a true New Yorker and worked as a sports columnist for the "New York Journal-American" for most of his adult life. Posthumously, Graham won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in 1971.

Book Details

This biography of the Yankee player voted "the greatest first baseman of all time" by the Baseball Writer's Association was published in hardcover by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a division of the Putnam Publishing Group. It runs between 180 and 250 pages, depending on which print edition you have in hand. When the book came out, Lou Gehrig was considered one of the most famous Yankee players of the previous two decades, if not the most famous. Gehrig (nicknamed The Iron Horse and Larrupin' Lou) died at the relatively young age of 38.

References

  • "Lou Gehrig: A Quiet Hero"; Frank Graham; 1942

Photo Credits

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