It wasn’t a performance that was immediately acclaimed, shared or remembered Wednesday evening in the first moments after the world learned that James Gandolfini had died.
But in June 2002, Major League Baseball set aside a day to remember Lou Gehrig’s “luckiest man” speech and raise amyotrophic lateral sclerosis awareness, with someone chosen to recite it in each ballpark. Gandolfini was the pick in New York at the old Yankee Stadium. This wasn’t the sort of thing he liked to do, but it was for a cause that was important to him, so he stepped up to read words that are particularly poignant now.
Wednesday, the day on which Gandolfini died, was the 100th anniversary of Gehrig’s birth.