The Pride of the Yankees will be back--in spirit anyway--on June 1 at ballparks around the country. Thanks to the efforts of Jenifer Estess, co-founder of the New York theater company Fallen Angels, big-shot actors will be delivering Lou Gehrig's famous farewell speech ("Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth...) before the opening pitch at games everywhere from Yankee Stadium to San Francisco's Pac Bell Park.
Estess suffers from A.L.S., better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Since 1998, the charity she co-founded, Project A.L.S., has raised upwards of $8 million for research--thanks in part to the support of folks like George Clooney and Gwyneth Paltrow. Pitching in on June 1 will be:
*James Gandolfini at Yankee Stadium
*Jesse Martin at Camden Yards, Baltimore
*Chi McBride at Wrigley Field, Chicago
*Brooke Shields at Pac Bell Park, San Francisco
*William Baldwin at the Ballpark, Arlington
*Luke Perry at Cinergy Field, Cincinnati
*Jason Priestley, Comerica Park, Detroit
Gehrig's life story, including the famous goodbye witnessed by 61,808 tearful New Yorkers on July 4, 1939, was the basis of the film The Pride of the Yankees with Gary Cooper in the title role.