Walz Signs ALS Bill; Mayo Clinic Has Famous Link To The Disease
St Paul (KROC AM News) - Numerous state lawmakers and others attended a ceremony at the state Capitol Wednesday as Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law.
The bill will provide $20-million for research into ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). It will also set aside $5-million to help cover the costs of care for Minnesotans suffering from the deadly disease.
One of those at the ceremony was Senator David Tomassoni of Chisholm, who authored the bill. The 69-year-old was diagnosed last year with ALS. He has been in the state legislature for nearly 30 years and is not seeking re-election this year.
Former Minnesota Twins player Kent Hrbek was also at the signing in honor of his father who died from ALS.
The devastating disease was named after Lou Gehrig, a famous New York Yankees teammate of Babe Ruth. After dealing with numerous health issues, Gehrig visited Mayo Clinic where he was diagnosed on his 36th birthday in 1939. A few weeks later, Gehrig announced his retirement from baseball in his infamous "luckiest man alive" speech at Yankee Stadium.
During a return visit to Mayo several weeks later, Gehrig agreed to an interview on KROC AM Radio. That was August 22, 1939. He agreed to the interview with KROC's Dwight Merriam as long as the topic was about baseball and not his failing health.
In the interview, Gehrig talked about up-and-coming young players in the game he liked including Ted Williams who was playing for the Minneapolis Millers at the time. He also discussed night baseball, fair criticism of ballplayers by the media and the idea of a players union in the future. It's a fascinating interview, especially when you consider what he was going through with his health. He was more interested in discussing the health of the American past-time.
Gehrig died from complications of ALS on June 2, 1941.
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