MLB's Sarah Langs, who has ALS, honored at Yankees game on anniversary of Lou Gehrig's famous speech

Sarah Langs, a beloved member of the baseball community who has Lou Gehrig's disease, was honored at Yankee Stadium on the 84th anniversary of Gehrig’s famous “luckiest man on the face of the Earth” speech

Ronald Blum
Tuesday 04 July 2023 20:59 BST
Orioles Yankees Baseball - Lang
Orioles Yankees Baseball - Lang (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Sarah Langs tried on Lou Gehrig’s cap, a joyous moment and also a reminder of the link they share.

Langs, a beloved member of the baseball community in her role as a reporter and producer at Major League Baseball Advanced Media, revealed last October she had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS. She was honored at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, the 84th anniversary of Gehrig’s famous “luckiest man on the face of the Earth” speech, along with six other women who have the disease.

“I don’t think I’ve processed any of this from the day that I pressed send on that tweet to share this with the world and all of the kindness I’ve received even beforehand," Langs said. “But, I mean, I love baseball so much. I’m so grateful for it. It’s the one thing in my life that absolutely will not change at all.”

ALS is a progressive disease that attacks nerve cells that control muscles throughout the body. It became known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the star baseball player was diagnosed in 1939.

Langs, who turned 30 on May 2, visited the Yankees Museum and watched on the field as her parents, Liise-anne Pirofski and Charles Langs, threw out ceremonial first pitches. She attended the exchange of lineup cards and posed for photos with the umpires.

Seated at a pregame news conference alongside Yankees manager Aaron Boone and pitcher Gerrit Cole, Langs detailed her story as several of the women from the awareness group “Her ALS Story” and their families watched.

“I’m not used to being on this side of this. I’ve been in those seats,” Langs said, looking to the media. “This is so, so important to put a spotlight on young women with ALS, to show not everyone looks like Lou Gehrig."

Cole presented Langs with a “Baseball Is the Best” T-shirt with the letters “ALS” highlighted in white, signed by all the Yankees. A second signed shirt will be auctioned as a fundraiser.

Before the game, the videoboard played the start of Gehrig’s speech, and then the women and several Yankees took turns reading segments of the address, which was met with a standing ovation.

Langs grew up in Manhattan, went to the University of Chicago, interned at the New York Daily News and CSN Chicago and then joined ESPN in 2015 as a sports content researcher. She was promoted to senior sports content researcher in 2018 and joined MLB the following year.

Fans and media know her for the historical facts and comparisons she comes up with at a moment’s notice.

She spoke of her baseball highlights that include attending David Cone’s perfect game in 1999 — “I was young, but I’m aware of it and we talk about it as a family often” — and the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series Game 7 in 2016 for their first title since 1908.

She credited her perseverance to baseball.

“I think it just comes from baseball itself. I mean, baseball doesn’t stop,” she said. “It’s there every day, unlike any other sport. There’s a game every day and into October and November. So for me, the fact that baseball won’t stop means I’m not going to either.”


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