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Kim 1

Emma Kim

English 110 24-B

Rhetorical Analysis

09/12/19

Luckiest Man Alive

On July 4th, 1939, Lou Gehrig, a famous and longtime Yankee first baseman, gave a

speech at Yankee Stadium to 62,000 fans who came to celebrate and give a farewell to this

beloved player. Lou Gehrig was an outstanding player with many records and awards. However,

after playing 17 consecutive seasons, Gehrig removed himself from the team on May 2nd, 1939.

He was diagnosed with a mysterious neuromuscular disease, which today is known as

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” This is a disease that destroys nerves in

the body and eventually causes the organs to stop functioning. To commemorate and celebrate

his leave, he gave a heartfelt speech that resonated with his audience. Lou Gehrig gives an

effective speech by using ethos, pathos, and rhetorical questions to convince his fans that despite

his disease, he’s lived a good life and he is the luckiest man alive.

Gehrig believed that he has lived a good life despite the disease. By using rhetorical

questions such as, “Wouldn’t you consider it a privilege to associate yourself with such a fine-

looking men as they’re standing in uniform in this ballpark today?” Gehrig is showing his

appreciation to the people who have been there for him such as Ed Barrow, Miller Huggins, Joe

McCarthy, and even his wife and parents. He also uses these rhetorical questions to show how

lucky he was to meet and to get to know these people. Some rhetoric appeals that Gehrig uses are

ethos and pathos.


Kim 2

In the speech, Gehrig recalls and talks about his past experiences of playing baseball. He

starts by saying, “I’ve been in ballparks for seventeen years.” He also mentions the New York

Giants sending him a gift, and how everybody remembers him with trophies. By doing this, he is

demonstrating ethos and is telling his audience who he is and confirms his credibility. Gehrig

also uses pathos when he briefly talked about his disease. Although gaining sympathy from the

audience might not have been a part of his purpose, the speech pulls on people’s emotions and

they begin to have sympathy for Gehrig. One extremely effective thing was his work style.

Gehrig starts off his speech by talking about him having “a bad break.” After talking

about all the good things in his life, he concludes his speech with those same words, “a bad

break.” Gehrig also starts off his middle paragraphs with repeating sentences. This emphasizes

his point of being lucky despite his disease.

Overall, Lou Gehrig gives an effective speech by using ethos to establish credibility,

pathos to receive sympathy, and rhetorical questions to convince his fans that despite his disease,

he’s lived a good life and he is the luckiest man alive.