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Lefty: An American Odyssey
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Random House Publishing Group 2012
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“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

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/15/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780345526502
ASIN:
B005NKH88Y

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Vernona Gomez. (2012). Lefty: An American Odyssey. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Vernona Gomez. 2012. Lefty: An American Odyssey. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Vernona Gomez, Lefty: An American Odyssey. Random House Publishing Group, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Vernona Gomez. Lefty: An American Odyssey. Random House Publishing Group, 2012.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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        Vernona Gomez is the daughter of June O’Dea and Vernon “Lefty” Gomez. As a child, she bounced on Babe Ruth’s knee, made sand castles on the beach with Joe DiMaggio, and won at cards with the legendary Cy Young. Growing up in a baseball family, Vernona brings an eyewitness account to the adventures chronicled in this book. She is a concert pianist, owner of the Creative Coaching Music Studio in Southport, Connecticut, and has two sons, John and Andrew.
         
        Lawrence Goldstone is the author or co-author of thirteen previous books of fiction and nonfiction. One of his novels won a New American Writing Award, another was a New York Times notable mystery. His work has been profiled in The New York Times, The Toronto Star, Salon, and Slate, among others. He lives in Fairfield, Connecticut, with his wife and daughter.

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title
Lefty
fullDescription
“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
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Jon Meacham
      • content: "In the darkest decade of the American Century, the 1930s, 'Lefty' Gomez gave baseball fans--which is to say, sensible Americans--something to cheer for and to admire. His story transcends sports and gives us a much-needed lesson in grit and grace."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kurt Russell
      • content: "The authors brought back great memories to me in this book. I always loved the way Lefty made my dad laugh, and I loved listening to the stories about Bing hanging out with the baseball gods in their prime. These stories allowed me to see my father as he was long before I was ever born. My sisters and I loved it when Lefty came to visit--we got to watch TV because Lefty would turn it on for us. My dad always deferred to Lefty and house rules flew out the window! Thanks for such a nostalgic and entertaining book."
      • premium: False
      • source: Louise Russell
      • content: "An absolutely great read and not just for baseball fans. This book brings the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, in particular, alive in such a fun and exciting way. I loved it."
      • premium: False
      • source: Steven Tellefsen, president and CEO, Babe Ruth League, Inc.

      • content: "Baseball fans everywhere will appreciate the book. Here was a man who wagered with Ruth, laughed with Gehrig, and roomed with DiMaggio. He was known as the fire-throwing left-hander of the successful Yankees teams of the 1930s and as the man that made clowning around the diamond famous. Lefty's adventurous stories both on and off the diamond will have readers talking about this book for many years to come."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 20, 2012
        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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 15, 2012
        A veteran author teams with the daughter of Vernon "Lefty" Gomez (1908-1989) for a biography of the Yankee legend. One of the game's singular personalities and greatest big-game pitchers, Lefty Gomez entered the Hall of Fame in 1972. In a career cut short by injuries, he nevertheless managed to win 20 games four times, lead the league three times in strikeouts and shutouts and twice in ERA. A fierce competitor, he started and won six of seven World Series games (while losing none), and three of four All-Star games. Daughter Gomez and Goldstone (Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903, 2011, etc.) dutifully cover the baseball heroics, from Lefty's California boyhood, the town teams and semi-pro ball, his signing with the San Francisco Seals and his storied Yankee career. The narrative's chief delight, though, is the treatment of Lefty the character. For his pranks, eccentricities and high-spirited antics, he acquired the nickname "El Goofo," but the moniker belied a steady character that led teammates to confide in him, a keen native intelligence and ready wit. Sure, he once famously held up a World Series game as he contemplated a passing airplane, but this same man perfectly captured the fearsome slugger Jimmie Foxx by remarking, "He has muscles in his hair." Thanks partly to his marriage to showgirl June O'Dea and his post-playing career as sales rep and goodwill ambassador for Wilson Sporting Goods, Lefty traveled widely and appears to have hung with an endless list of famous friends: sitting in with bandleader Eddy Duchin, chumming with James Michener, dining with Hemingway, fishing with Ted Williams, playing cards with the Babe. Though this largely adoring treatment acknowledges some dark passages--a near-divorce, a midlife bout with alcoholism, the motorcycle death of a beloved son--the overwhelming impression is of a crowded, accomplished life exuberantly lived. 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.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 1, 2012

        The quirky and upbeat Hall of Fame pitcher Lefty Gomez was a fan favorite on the 1930-42 Yankees that also featured Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth. His daughter, with Goldstone (Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903), offers a well-written and comprehensive though oddly impersonal story of Gomez's life from his challenging upbringing through his long baseball career, his close friendship with the Bambino, his time as a manager in South America, and his volatile marriage to a headstrong Broadway actress, the author's mother. Gomez was famous for his quips and his ease with his public life, handling celebrity and a tabloid presence with grace. Although his daughter keeps her distance in this biography (e.g., no family lore or mention of him as "Dad"), it is recommended to all golden age baseball fans and anyone seeking insight into life as a Depression-era baseball celebrity.--D.K.

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        May 1, 2012
        This appears to be the first modern biography of Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez (18981989), which is surprising since he amassed some fine stats on his way to the Hall of Famea lifetime record of 189102, four 20-win seasons, six World Series titles (his pitching record was 60), league ERA leader twice and strikeout leader three timeswhile also earning fame for his wit; for instance, he coined the immortal I'd rather be lucky than good. The book's content is unconventional, much of it consisting of Gomez quotes from as-told-to conversations with his daughter Vernona, with additional material presumably provided by coauthor Goldstone. If the book is more intimate as a result, it also lacks the tighter continuity and faster pace that a more formal biography might have achieved. As is, though, it's one more great American storywhich includes the likes of Ruth and DiMaggio, both of whom were teammates and close friends of Gomez'sspanning space and time from Gomez's humble California roots to the pinnacle of success, cross-country, in the American century.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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“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...
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