The Major League Baseball (MLB) season is a long one, stretching from March through October, with each team playing 162 games. As such, the games and days can seem to blend together. But there are a few days during the season which stand out, and one of those is June 2.
Since 2021, June 2 has been celebrated as Lou Gehrig Day by MLB in ballparks across the country, a day to help spread awareness and raise funds for people living with ALS and their families. Lou Gehrig Day is one of just three league-wide days celebrated annually honoring legendary players along with Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente days.
The date chosen for the day was no accident, as June 2 marks when Gehrig became the New York Yankees starting first baseman in 1925—the start of his incredible streak of consecutive games played—as well as the day he passed away from ALS in 1941. In the years that followed, many would come to call ALS Lou Gehrig’s Disease across the country.
“We are thrilled to celebrate Lou Gehrig Day, a special occasion that honors the legacy of one of the greatest baseball players of all time and raises awareness and funds for ALS research and care,” says ALS Association Sports and Entertainment Vice President Steve Becvar. “The ALS Association is grateful for the opportunity to partner with the MLB teams and local communities to make ALS a livable disease until we cure it. Lou Gehrig Day is more than just a game; it is a tribute to courage, resilience, and hope.”
All 30 MLB teams will be playing on June 2, and each will honor the legacy of the famed “Iron Horse” while raising awareness of ALS and those living with the disease today. Players, managers and coaches will all don special Lou Gehrig Day uniform patches, with videos and scoreboard messages about ALS and efforts to find treatments and a cure shown in-stadium and on broadcasts. Many teams will be hosting ceremonial first pitches including people living with ALS and family members, and many have also offered special blocks of tickets for the ALS community, with a portion of the ticket price being donated to The ALS Association and other nonprofits.
New this year are t-shirts for every MLB team in their colors featuring the “ALL vs ALS” slogan. Look for them in the stands as you cheer on your favorite team. Fans at the ballpark and at home can take part on social media as well by sharing their photos, stories, or messages of support using the hashtags #LouGehrigDay, #StrikeOutALS and #ALLvsALS.
The Washington Nationals included an additional event with their Lou Gehrig Day celebration this year with their President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo taking part in The ALS Association CEO Soak and challenging other MLB general managers to do the same. Rizzo’s sister, Kim, was diagnosed with ALS in 2018 and battled courageously until her passing in 2020.
In addition to the activities taking place on June 2, many teams that are on the road for Lou Gehrig Day will host ALS Awareness games in their home stadiums at some point during the season. The Seattle Mariners got the ball rolling by hosting an awareness night Wednesday when they hosted Gehrig’s New York Yankees. Many minor league teams are also hosting celebrations or ALS awareness events during the summer.
The connection between baseball and the fight to end ALS has only deepened since the disease took one of its most legendary stars. While each June 2 is a day to look back and honor Lou Gehrig, it is also a day to join together in support of people living with ALS and their families.