Many baseball fans know that Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak was halted when Babe Dahlgren’s name was penciled onto the Yankee starting lineup in May of 1939. What most folks don’t know is how Gehrig’s streak began in 1925.
Light-hitting Pee Wee Wanninger was the starting shortstop for New York on June 1, 1925. Late in the game Yankee skipper Miller Huggins decided to pinch hit for Wanninger and told the 21-year old Gehrig to get a bat. With that pinch-hitting appearance, Gehrig started on a streak that would last until Dahlgren filled in for the Iron Horse in 1939.
Wanninger is linked to another consecutive games played streak of note.
Cal Ripken holds the all-time record for consecutive games played with 2,632. Second on the list is Gehrig with 2,130; third is Everett Scott with 1,307. Wanninger is tied to both men behind Ripken.
In the 1925 season a 32-year old Scott was slipping at shortstop and at the plate. When Yankee manager Miller Huggins saw fit to bench Scott and end the streak, he turned to the rookie Wanninger. On May 5th, 1925 Wanninger started in place of Scott to end what is still the third longest run in MLB history.
Four weeks later Huggins called on 22-year old Lou Gehrig to pinch hit for Wanninger in what would be the start of Gehrig’s own streak.
In the collection is Wanninger’s player’s contract for the 1925 season in which he helped stop and start two of baseball’s most prolific consecutive games streaks. The front page is also signed by Hall of Fame executive Ban Johnson.