Now we know the source of Lou Gehrig’s incredible power and endurance.
Apparently Gehrig, who slugged 493 home runs, drove in 1,995 runs and played in a then-record 2,130 consecutive games for the New York Yankees, loved grapes.
He loved them so much he wrote letters to grape grower Fred Lichtenwalter requesting that he send more grapes to both him and his friends, including Hall of Fame teammate Babe Ruth.
Three handwritten letters to Lichtenwalter signed by Gehrig will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on Oct. 27. The letters, written on stationary from The Brunswick Hotel in Boston, are undated but circa 1930 as Gehrig lists the address of his New Rochelle home on one, where he lived from 1928-1933.
His first letter to Lichtenwalter reads in full: “'Dear Mr. Lichtenwalter: - Enclosed please find $10 for the grapes you shipped my mother. They sure were wonderful and arrived in the very best condition - / I sure want to thank you once more and tell you how much we appreciated them - Cordially / Lou Gehrig.”
In Gehrig's second letter, he makes mention of “Babe” wanting grapes as well. He writes, “Dear friend Fred: - Have been wanting to drop you a line for several weeks now, and hope it's not too late. I would like to have 2500 lbs of those same grapes this year if it doesn't inconvenience you - Babe wants half of these, but ship them all to me, and also the bill and I'll straighten it all out with you - As I told you in Glen.[?], those grapes last year were marvelous, and I hope this years crop is just as good - / Please drop a line to me in Washington (Wardman Park Hotel) on Thurs. Fri. or Sat - whether you received this letter O.K. and if you can ship the grapes, and about what time we should expect them - / Many thanks again, Fred, I appreciate this ever so much / Cordially / Lou Gehrig / 9 Meadow Lane / New Rochelle, N.Y-.”
In Gehrig's last letter, he smooths over a misunderstanding with his grape grower. The letter reads in full, “Dear Fred: - Sorry you misinterpreted my last note - Was not questioning price or any thing. We were wondering whether we had paid you or not - Haven't a complaint in the world, except thanks for your courtesies - While I'm at it please send 60 baskets this fall - Best Wishes / Lou Gehrig.”
Bidding for the letters begins at $21,000 on Oct. 27. Nate D. Sanders Auctions, which has been conducting auctions in Los Angeles since 1990, is considered an industry leader in rare documents and autographs.
To bid or learn more, visit natedsanders.com