North­eastern Uni­ver­sity law pro­fessor Roger Abrams, who has authored sev­eral books on base­ball his­tory, spoke about why Gehrig’s speech still mat­ters all these years later.

He’s taken on mythic pro­por­tions,” he said. “Base­ball really reflects Amer­ican society, and in every myth, you need the tragic figure. And he, after just an extra­or­di­nary career, becomes the tragic figure of what had hap­pened to America in the 1930s. A ter­rible decade of Depres­sion. In some ways he suf­fered for us all. He was a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Amer­ican spirit even when faced with just extra­or­di­nary per­sonal tragedy. He saw the glass as not just half full, it was over­flowing. I think he was gen­uinely thankful for the oppor­tu­nity he had.”

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