Lot # 176: Extraordinary 1939 “Luckiest Man” Lou Gehrig Day Murray Becker (AP) PSA Type 1 Encapsulated Photo – Measures 7” x 9” – One of Only Two Known Type 1 Images!

Category: Photos

Starting Bid: $15,000.00

Bids: 12 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed




This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Winter Rarities '23 Auction",
which ran from 12/10/2022 12:00 PM to
1/7/2023 7:00 PM




(LOT 176)
Extraordinary 1939 "Luckiest Man" Lou Gehrig Day Murray Becker (AP) PSA Type I Encapsulated Photo – Measures 7" x 9" – One of Only Two Known Type 1 Images!

Babe Ruth's "Called Shot"; Jackie Robinson's inaugural MLB game; Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard Around The World"; "Hammerin' Hank" Aaron's 715th record-breaking home run….unquestionably these enthralling instances reside as some of our National Pastime's most iconic moments. There is another beyond captivating event that will always stand right alongside these historic occurrences as one of baseball's greatest moments, the day Lou Gehrig gave his incomparable "Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth" speech on July 4, 1939. Truly a day that will echo for eternity, no one could possibly measure the immense sadness experienced by some 61,000+ fans and a grief-stricken Nation that legendary fourth of July. The immortal Lou Gehrig, slowly deteriorating from the ill effects of the deadly Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis disease (ALS), was honored at Yankee Stadium, eventually stepping to the microphone and delivering his heart-stopping "Luckiest Man" speech that will forever stand as our National Pastime's "Gettysburg Address". A seemingly endless list of dignitaries and teammates would be on hand to pay homage to this remarkable hero, with the Yankees captain truly representing the sheer embodiment of courage, and one sportswriter eloquently claiming "there wasn't a dry eye in the house!"

One of the most hallowed moments in baseball history, it's no secret that a myriad of sophisticated collectors actively pursue original photos representing this iconic event. We cannot imagine any of them matching up to the utmost prestige and rarity of this timeless PSA Type 1 image portraying an extremely close-up Gehrig portrait pose as the mighty Yankees slugger tries in vain to wipe away the tears. Measuring approximately 7" x 9", it was struck by legendary Associated Press photographer Murray Becker who is also famous for his award-winning Hindenburg Disaster photo. One of only two known Type 1s extant, it truly captures the moment of Gehrig's immense melancholy state, with this selfless hero about to call himself the "Luckiest Man" on the planet even in lieu of his tragic illness. One of Gehrig's foremost images, you can feel Gehrig's immeasurable grief as a stoic Iron Horse rubs his eyes with his right hand, seemingly blinking back the tears. Exhibiting the finest possible contrast and crystal-clear clarity, the museum worthy image reveals near-perfect centering between four relatively clean white borders, and the relatively clean obverse side has eluded any noteworthy flaws.

The verso includes the standard "ASSOCIATED PRESS" credit stamp and critical July 1939 date that substantiates its scarce Type 1 stature, for as most photo enthusiasts are surely aware of, a vast number of the existing Lou Gehrig Day photos are deemed Type 2 illustrations from 1941 and after. Most significantly, this particular Murray Becker Type 1 arguably suffices as the most hallowed of all the Lou Gehrig Day images. While the "Gehrig Standing at the Microphone with a Yankee Stadium backdrop" has always been considered the quintessential Lou Gehrig day photo, it's this Cooperstown worthy masterpiece that truly captures all of Lou's heart-wrenching emotions that would make anyone's heart skip a beat. Indeed, this awe-inspiring image effectively turns back the clock some 84 years to the solemn day when the Iron Horse spilled out all his emotions to his family, friends, teammates and any compassionate American who truly understood the resounding implications of this unparalleled event. In fact, it was this exact image that was used in a July 5, 1939 newspaper the following day, and we have included an original newspaper clipping of this photo that reads: "This picture gives you some idea of how Lou Gehrig felt as more than 61,000 fans cheered themselves hoarse at the sight of him."

A truly breathtaking portrayal of the Iron Horse on the legendary "Lou Gehrig Day", it personifies all of the emotions experienced by a saddened Nation at the mere thought of this "giant of a man" succumbing to the tragic ALS disease. It was some 18 years earlier in 1923 when the Iron Horse first broke into the big leagues, and was about to place his indelible stamp on America's Pastime. Gehrig started his miraculous 2,130 game streak on June 1, 1925 that sadly ended 14 years later when Lou pulled himself out of the lineup on May 2, 1939. For that extensive period of time, Gehrig was the quiet hero, simply going about his business with a steadfast purpose that the mention of his hallowed name inspires a still tranquility amongst his vast following. This historic offering resides as the most profound photo from that hallowed July 4, 1939 day, with its incomparable presence echoing the legendary quote "a picture is worth a thousand words." Gehrig was always deemed as being a tower of strength, the unequivocal leader of the championship Bronx Bombers that rightfully earned him the nod of being the undisputed Yankees captain.

As a bona fide testament to Gehrig's eternal stature among America's greatest heroes, we feel the necessity to present his unparalleled speech that will unquestionably stand the test of time! - Also Includes Full PSA Type I LOA "Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break. Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for 17 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. But, I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for."

MIN BID $15,000
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