Celebrity CATFISH HUNTER AILING By People Staff Published on June 22, 1999 12:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the fatal neurological illness named for the famed Yankee slugger, who died of the disease in 1941 at age 37. Hunter, 52, will begin treatment this week for what is medically known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the Associated Press reports. Hunter began experiencing symptoms of ALS last March when his arms felt weak. Hunter was baseball’s first big-money free agent when he signed a $3.75 million contract with the New York Yankees on New Year’s Eve, 1974, after winning the Cy Young Award pitching for the Oakland A’s. He retired after the 1979 season and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.