He was actually called "the Christian Gentleman" by players and press alike because of his courtesy and public stand for God and country. He was an amazing pitcher...one of the first in the hall of fame...who wouldn't pitch a game on Sunday, in honor of his beliefs. He enlisted in WWI, along with the less-than-Christian-non-gentleman Ty Cobb, and inhaled poisonous gas. This ended his pitching career and ultimately took his life, but he never regretted it. He was one of the first five inducted into the Hall of Fame.
I have to say, through the Ken Burns series, Lou Gehrig was one of my personal favorites, although he was largely overshadowed by his flamboyant teammate, Babe Ruth. He was just as talented as Ruth, but was completely opposite him in character. He was a quiet, modest, family man. He never sought the lime-light. He spent years in the shadow of Ruth, being largely overlooked, yet always kept a kind and gentlemanly attitude toward him. It's actually he, and not Ruth who holds the grand slam record! Even when he had to leave the game of baseball at the age of 36 due to what would eventually be called 'Lou Gehrig's Disease', he bravely faced a devastating illness without complaint, instead being grateful for the time he had lived and played. He is a great example of how to win and keep a humble attitude.
I suppose I ought to include a Red Sox player since I've had a Yankee. :) Seriously, Ted Williams is a good role model for a young man. He was an absolutely amazing hitter, and much of his skill was acquired through hard work and observation. He really studied and worked hard to become great...it didn't just happen naturally for him! Some people even consider him the greatest hitter who ever lived. His stats, though, may not seem as impressive as you'd expect from an all-time great. There's a reason. He took years away from his career (stats) to serve in the military in both WWII and the Korean war. How many sports players these day can you think of who wouldn't be too self-serving to step away from their sport while at their prime to serve their country? I think it was amazing...what a great example.
I've really enjoyed learning some of the ins and outs of baseball, courtesy of Ken Burns. I understand why Brooklyn Dodgers fans are bitter, I know about the Red Sox curse, I know how to calculate a batting average, but most of all, I enjoyed the stories. The game of baseball is an avenue to learn about some very interesting lives. They say truth is stranger than fiction...who would have thought I'd have enjoyed the Baseball documentary so much?