Thoughts of Lou Gehrig inevitably turn first to his disease and his farewell speech in 1939, and then to his 2,130 consecutive games played streak. This post instead highlights a few of the notable and spectacular statistics from his career.
Gehrig had more than 150 RBIs in seven different seasons, including three seasons above 170 RBIs. He hit at least 10 triples in nine different seasons, peaking at a league-leading 20 in 1926. Gehrig even had 6 triples in his last full season, 1938. He drew more than 100 walks in 11 different seasons, with an average of 130 from 1935 through 1937, and led the A.L. in times on base in six different seasons. 1190 of his 2721 hits were for extra bases, or 43.7 percent. (This compares to Ruth’s 1356 out of 2873 hits, or 47.2 percent).
In his triple crown year, 1934, Gehrig finished fifth (although it was a close fifth) in the MVP balloting. His Yankee teams swept the World Series four times, and Gehrig’s 6-1 Series record compares to Ruth’s 4-3 Series record as a Yankee. Gehrig, still in his prime, received 22.6 percent of votes on the Hall of Fame ballot in 1936. He, not Ruth, was the A.L. MVP in 1927.
Gehrig scored and drove in more than 100 runs in each season from 1926 through 1938, a 13-year span in which he averaged .95 RBIs per game and .90 runs scored per game. During those 13 years, his OBP did not drop below .400. In his first two seasons, 1923 and 1924, Gehrig played 23 games and hit .447, with a .711 slugging percentage. It’s no surprise then that he was made a starter in 1925.