May 2nd, 1939
Lou Gehrig Ends Streak
By asking out of the line-up on this date, Lou Gehrig ended his streak that had begun on June 1st, 1925. Gehrig's streak is interesting in that it encompassed nearly his entire career; all but thirty-four games of it took place during the streak, whereas Cal Ripken, for comparison's sake, played nearly three hundred seventy games before and after his own streak. The tragic circumstances around Gehrig's death have helped him be remembered; while it’s unlikely he would have slipped into a Stan Musial like obscurity, Gehrig did spend the bulk of his career overshadowed, first by Babe Ruth, then by Joe DiMaggio. Gehrig deserves to be remembered for more than his streak and his death--he's arguably the greatest first baseman in history--but I suppose we cannot choose what we are remembered for.
On a related note, I have written in the past about Gehrig's predecessor and successor at first base for the Yankees.