An American Odyssey
“An intimate portrait of a man whose life off the field was equally as captivating as his unparalleled baseball career.”—Yankees Magazine
Born into a small-town California ranching family, Vernon “Lefty” Gomez rode his powerful arm and jocular personality across America to the dugout of the New York Yankees. Lefty baffled hitters with his blazing fastball, establishing himself as the team’s ace. Now, drawing on countless conversations with Lefty, more than three hundred interviews conducted with his family, friends, competitors, and teammates over the course of a decade, and revealing candid photos, documents, and film clips—many never shown publicly—his daughter Vernona Gomez and her award-winning co-author Lawrence Goldstone vividly re-create the life and adventures of the irreverent southpaw. A star-studded romp through America’s most glamorous years, with cameos from Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, George Gershwin, Ernest Hemingway, and Marilyn Monroe, Lefty is at once a long-overdue reminder of a pitcher’s greatness and a heartwarming celebration of a life well-lived.
“His story transcends sports and gives us a much-needed lesson in grit and grace.”—Jon Meacham
“A loving and beautifully written tribute . . . Be prepared to be transformed, and to discover stars who were stars in an age when that word really meant something.”—Mike Greenberg, co-host of ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning
“An amiable portrait of a baseball great—like Yogi Berra, Dizzy Dean and Satchel Paige—whose outsized personality looms even larger than his considerable athletic achievements.”—Kirkus Reviews
Vernon "Lefty" Gomez was a stalwart pitcher for the dominant New York Yankee teams of the 1930s. The son of an illiterate rancher from rural California adapted quickly to the city and was "named to New York's best-dressed list" within two years of joining the Yankees. Although overshadowed by the offensive juggernauts of teammates Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio, Gomez was a significant factor in the Yankees' success. He was the American League's starting pitcher in five of the first seven All-Star games and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. His daughter, Vernona, relies on testimonials from relatives, friends, teammates, and Lefty himself to produce an anecdotal biography of the man known as "El Goofo." While paying homage to her father, she doesn't shy from the darker periods such as her parents highly publicized separation and Lefty's later bout with alcoholism. Coauthor Goldstone (The Anatomy of Deception) blends the abundant testimonials with biographical data, baseball lore and history, and American history to provide a glimpse of a bygone era through Gomez's life. Photos.
What a beautiful book. I'm a lifelong Yankee fan and I recommend this to all Yankee fans, and also all baseball fans. The way this man treated strangers was the same way you treat friends. I think this book should be read by all players of today. A wonderful man. Thank you Miss Gomez for writing this book.