Gehrig, Lou (1903–1941), American baseball player. Gehrig began playing for the New York Yankees in 1925. He soon became a fine first baseman and an outstanding hitter. He compiled a lifetime major-league average of .340. He was the American League home-run champion in 1931, 1934, and 1936 and was named the American League's most valuable player in 1927, 1931, 1934, and 1936. Nicknamed the “Iron Horse,” he played a total of 2130 consecutive games in 14 seasons. His career ended in 1939 when he learned that he was suffering from a rare form of paralysis—amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In the years following his death the disease became popularly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.