Lou “Buster” Gehrig

Photo from the Library of Congress

Washington catcher Hank Severeid tries to dig out a low throw, while New York Yankee Lou “Buster” Gehrig slides head-first into home plate.

It took a little digging, but I finally found when this picture was taken: August 16, 1925 – it’s the only game I could find where Gehrig scored, Nallin was umpiring home plate, and Hank Severeid was catching in Washington.

I had never heard of Lou Gehrig referred to as “Buster” before, but check out the following game recap from the Washington Reporter, August 17, 1925:

I know it’s hard to read, but trust me, it says:

“Yesterday’s hero – “Buster” Gehrig, Yankee first baseman, accounted for two runs with a homer, a double, and two singles and beat the Senators 3 to 2.”

NOTE: The Library of Congress misnames the umpire in the photo as “Umpire Nallan.” In actuality, the umpire is Dick Nallin, who umpired in the Major Leagues for 17 years (1915-1932). He also coached the Villanova University Football team to a respectable 7-2-1 record in 1899.

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  1. Very interesting. It’s not even 3 months into Gehrig’s streak, so he was still the “new kid on the block”. Really interesting the Baseball Reference doesn’t include “Buster” as a nickname for him…

  2. There is something about this picture that lends Gehrig a great humanity as a ballplayer in my eyes. Maybe it’s the “Iron Horse” moniker, or the fact that I’ve seen so few pictures of him in action – usually he’s standing with a bat on his shoulder. Usually he appears to be a hulking and immovable specimen.

    Or, in his later years, in physical decline.

    But in this photo, diving into home plate headfirst, he’s a ballplayer. He’s young, he’s earnest, he’s scratching out a run that will turn out to be the difference in this game.

    The nickname in the paper, “Buster,” is the kind of nickname you give a hustling kid eager to win, eager to earn his place, eager to get into the gang. Thanks to this picture and that one sentence in the next morning’s newspaper, I’m going to think of Lou Gehrig differently now.

    It’s hard to imagine that at the time this picture was taken, Lou Gehrig was still trying to keep his spot in the lineup, but Buster is the Gehrig that intrigues and inspires me today.

    I hope we can get this nickname onto that BB-Ref page.

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