Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lefty: An American Odyssey by Vernona Gomez and Lawrence Goldstone

Why I read it: After a full life studying baseball history, I found Gomez to be one of those few major characters of whom I knew very little.

Summary: The amazing life story of Vernon "Lefty" Gomez, New York Yankee.

My Thoughts: I just didn't want him to go. As the pages in my right hand dwindled down to a precious few, I knew the end was near. I didn't want to say goodbye to Lefty Gomez.

Amazing. And me a Red Sox fan.

Lefty started out poor, with a "cannon for an arm," but unable to afford a glove for the other one. He rose through the ranks in the way it was once done, discovered on the dusty playing fields of far-off places (I guess it is still done that way today, outside of the United States). Told the Yankees wanted him, he struggled to get up cross country train fare and food money and starved his way from San Francisco to Florida to his first spring training.

Soon, he was on the mound with Babe Ruth looking over his shoulder from right field, and Lou Gehrig looking on from first base. Soon, he was married to a starlet. Soon, he was the hero to every kid who ever grew up in his hometown. Soon, he was a World Series champ, starting the first All-Star Game and rubbing elbows with Bing Crosby and Ernest Hemingway.

Along the way, he spread his wit - we can thank him for "go-fer ball" for instance - and became in demand behind the microphone.

Lefty's tale is one of the American Dream, of impossible odds, of unquenchable desire, and a life lived well. Long live El Goofo.

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