A Name That Honors ‘The Iron Horse’ and a Grandfather’s Legacy

Baseball great Lou Gehrig

LeRoy Hodges spent part of his boyhood summers helping with the sunup-to-sundown chores on his grandfather’s secluded ranch in Arizona. The ranch was a throwback: no TV and sporadic electricity. But at the end of the long days, the two drifted off to sleep with the radio tuned to Los Angeles Dodgers baseball games.

“We bonded over baseball,” Hodges said. “It was the late 80s and early 90s and the Dodgers had Orel Hershiser, Pedro Guerrero, Steve Sax and Mike Scioscia. Tommy Lasorda was the manager.”

And his grandfather would talk to him about the legendary players of old, leading the way with his all-time favorite, “The Iron Horse,” Lou Gehrig. The Yankee great set a record of playing in 2,130 consecutive games, a record that stood for 56 years.

“My grandfather would tell me stories about him,” Hodges said. “Just the idea of showing up to work every day. That’s something he instilled in me.”

The grandfather’s favorite player became the grandson’s favorite. Hodges, a 1993 graduate of Pine Forest High School, went on to graduate from the University of North Carolina’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy in 1998. He and his wife Stephanie Linville Hodges are the owners of Qwik-Med Pharmacy & Clinic in Westwood Shopping Center.

Gehrig and LeRoy Hodges

And when the two first became parents 17 years ago, Hodges never wavered in choosing his son’s name. Happily, young Gehrig Hodges shares the family legacy of loving America’s pastime.

“Well,” LeRoy Hodges said, “he didn’t really have a choice.”

Father and son have shared many a joyful moment in the stands and on the playing field, including two trips to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Gehrig, a left-handed first baseman who is a junior at Terry Sanford High School whose motto is “No Days Off,” was among the players whose youth team had the honor of playing at Cooperstown and thereby being inducted into the American Youth Baseball Players Hall of Fame.

“It was fantastic,” LeRoy Hodges said. “And he played so well.”

When the Hodges learned they were having a daughter five years after Gehrig was born, LeRoy Hodges figured it would be a great idea to name her Ruth, after the legendary Babe Ruth. Gehrig and Ruth, what a pair, right?

Um, no, Stephanie Hodges said.

So it is that their 12-year-old daughter is named Abigail. And for the record, Abi prefers volleyball.