I took to Gehrig when I was young because I was a shy first baseman. No, I did not hit bombs all day or bring in everyone on base all the time. Actually, as the years went on I became a pitcher and played first base on my off days – the perks of being a lefty. However, I always played like Gehrig. I kept my head down and took nothing for granted.
Gehrig went to Columbia University and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity while there. Naturally, when I was in high school and started the process of looking for colleges to attend Columbia was on my list. Unfortunately, neither my grades nor my baseball skills were going to get me there. I actually attended a college showcase at Columbia where I proceeded to throw a changeup roughly 25 feet over the catcher. A bad pitch can happen to anyone, especially in the rain, but I was rattled and gave Columbia nothing to desire.
Ultimately I ended up at Union College outside Albany, New York. I did make the baseball team and pitched there for one season before my career ended with a major shoulder injury. More importantly, I joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity chapter on campus. Thousands of men have joined Phi Delta Theta (over 250,000 actually) but knowing that Lou Gehrig and I were fraternity brothers made it seem that much more special.
The fraternity has done a lot for Lou Gehrig. They have named Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) the official cause for the fraternity to donate time and money to. Millions of dollars are given to research ALS every year from the fraternity and alumni brothers. Other prominent Phis include Neil Armstrong, Burt Reynolds, and Adam Silver.
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