When I was a little boy I saw a movie called the Pride of the Yankees. It was the story of the great Yankee Lou Gehrig.
The second scene in the film was about the fact that Gehrig went to Columbia University. It showed that he had a great college life just like any normal college kid. It includes Lou at a party trying to pick up a girl. The film also shows Lou which is beautifully portrayed by the great Academy Award-winning actor Gary Cooper hard at his studies and also involved in a work-study program in order to make ends meet.
100 years later I do my annual visit to this incredible University and notice that things seem the same as when Gehrig was a student here.
I have been doing an annual lecture here for almost ten years.
Joe Favorito is a Public relations guru and a professor dealing with the subject at Columbia.
Through my books, Joe knew that the life of Gehrig and the Yankees was an important subject in my life, and loves how I share it with his students. Many of which are from all around the world.
The difference between me and others is that I like to keep it real. I like to talk about situations that depict Gehrig and all Yankees as real people. I like talking about the fact that the most powerful word in the world is LOVE. How my love of the Yankees has probably saved my life.
I love sharing little secrets that I learned from my almost 50 years in baseball that show these people in my baseball life as wonderful and beautiful people even though they don’t want the adulation.
I love telling my Derek Jeter and Chazz Palminteri story and how they made a little boy’s last days on this world his greatest.
When I see these students cry, I cry with them. Not out of sadness, but because it tells me that have a heart and in turn, they have a chance in this sometimes cruel world.
Thank You Joe Favarito for thinking that my visit might help make a difference. I also thank the Yankees and of course the wonderful spirit of Lou Gehrig.