Since his early youth, Gehrig had been interested in sports, and in 1921 he almost became a member of the New York Giants, but chose instead to enter Columbia University. In his undergraduate days he played on the football and baseball teams, and his exceptional ability in baseball led him to give up college in 1923 and sign with the New York Yankees. In 1923 and 1924 Gehrig was farmed out to Hartford, Conn., and in 1925 was assigned to first base on the Yankee team. Known as the "Iron Horse," Lou Gehrig was one of the most outstanding players in the history of baseball and his batting records rivaled, and often surpassed, those of the great Babe Ruth. In the 15 years of his association with the New York Yankees he compiled a lifetime batting average of .341 and set a major-league record by playing in 2,130 consecutive games, one of sports' most heralded records, and since surpassed by Cal Ripken, Jr., in 1995. He also participated in seven World Series. He led the American League four times in runs scored, four times in total bases, and five times in home runs, and four times he received the major league Most Valuable Player Award. Gehrig retired from the New York Yankees in 1939 because of ill health and was offered the position of parole commissioner for New York City by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, which he accepted in January 1940.