The Actual Speech
Compare the above Hollywood-doctored speech to the
original below. The fact that filmmakers dared to rework what had become
one of the most memorable speeches in recent history offended some die-hard
Gehrig fans at the time THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES was made.
"Fans, for the past two weeks you have been
reading about a bad break I got. Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man
on the face of the earth.
"I have been in ballparks for 17 years, and I
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 have considered it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert;
also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrows; 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 against her own daughter,
that's something. When you have a father and mother who work all
their lives so that 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.
"So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.