When Cooperstown Almost Changed From Museum to Mausoleum

The grave site quickly became a lure for fans who wanted to pay their respects to the Iron Horse, whose career ended abruptly in 1939 when he was found to have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

So many people showed up at the grave site that the grass became shoddy and worn down. Even Gehrig’s widow, Eleanor, stopped visiting. Her lawyer Milton Eisenberg asked the cemetery in 1944 about the cost of erecting a chain and two poles at the entrance of the plot to discourage trespassers.

“She seeks, by this means, to keep picnickers out,” Eisenberg wrote in a letter to the cemetery.

And just two years later, the Gehrig family and the Hall of Fame began discussions about removing Gehrig’s ashes from Valhalla and sending them to Cooperstown. Gehrig’s parents raised the idea…

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