First Lou Gehrig Memorial Award Given to Alvin Dark


From The Scroll, January 1956

Brother Alvin Dark, Louisiana State ’45, is the first winner of the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, which the General Council authorized in August 1953.

The award is to be given annually by Phi Delta Theta to the major league baseball player who, both on and off the field, best exemplifies the character of Lou Gehrig, Columbia ’25, who played in 2,143 games as a member of the New York American League Baseball Club.

George M. Trautman, Ohio State 1914, president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, heads the all-Phi committee, which made the selection for the 1956 recipient.

Dark, the star shortstop of the New York Giants, has had a brilliant major league career. His name will be entered on a permanent plaque, the location of which will be announced later.

Each player will receive a smaller plaque with a similar design as his permanent possession. Other players considered for the first award are Yogi Berra, Jerry Coleman, George Kell, Bill Klaus, Ted Kluszewski, Stan Musial, Jim Pearsall, Wally Post, Pee Wee Reese, Robin Roberts, Mickey Vernon, and Ted Williams. The time and place of the award to Brother Dark will be determined at his convenience.

Brother Trautman said, “The plaque will be eighteen inches in width and twenty-five inches in depth. It will carry a likeness of Brother Gehrig, a brief explanation of the award, and, at the bottom, the words “Dedicated by his brothers of Phi Delta Theta.”

After being traded from the Detroit Tigers to the St. Louis Cardinals, the award presentation to Alvin Dark was eventually made at Busch Stadium by Purdue University President Frederick L. Hovde, Minnesota ’29, and George M. Trautman. The St. Louis Alumni Club took advantage of this Phi Delta Theta Day at the ballpark to sponsor a rush party at the game. About one hundred undergraduate Phis and alumni attended.