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Lefty: An American Odyssey
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Lefty: An American Odyssey

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  73 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A baseball legend distinguished by his competitive nature, quick wit, and generous spirit, Lefty Gomez was one of a kind. Told for the first time, this is his remarkable story.
Born to a small-town California ranching family, the youngest of eight, Vernon “Lefty” Gomez rode his powerful arm and jocular personality right across America to the dugout of the New York Yankees
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Vernon Gomez, nicknamed 'Lefty' (for obvious reasons) pitched for the NY Yankees from 1930-1942. This is rather amazing as this was the time when pitchers were in the game till their arms fell off. They virtually pitched themselves out of their careers. Vernon was the type of pitcher that would pitch everyday if asked, he had a fierce drive to compete and to win.

This is the account of his life from the beginning to the end. We follow along through the early years of baseball, the good and the b
Audra Spiven
Dec 13, 2012 Audra Spiven rated it it was ok
Even my love of baseball purely for baseball's sake couldn't propel me all the way through this book. It has some great stories and information but is poorly organized and has the feel of a book that was left without an objective editor for cutting the snippets that didn't matter. For instance, there were entire chapters on the history of this baseball player's wife and her family and childhood. I simply didn't care about that stuff, but obviously it's meaningful to the author - who is the subje ...more
Dec 18, 2015 Warren rated it it was amazing
Excellent biography one of baseball's more colorful characters. Lefty Gomez pitched before my time but this book sheds much light on little known facts about the N Y Yankees in the 20's and 30's....the team that dominated that era.
Gomez was married to June O'Dea, a Broadway star, and was close friends of players like Ruth, Gehrig and Lazzeri. He was a wit loved by the media and everyone that knew him.
I met Lefty Gomez in 1966 when he visited the ballpark where I was employed in Asheville NC. He
Mar 28, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing
Lefty Gomez is both one of the best-known and one of the least-known stars in baseball history. To the public and press, he was “El Goofo,” a unique combination of high-velocity fastball, affable eccentricity, and irreverent wit; a free spirit and natural clown who was so relaxed on the mound that he paused during a World Series game to watch an airplane fly over the Polo Grounds…His friends and teammates, however, knew a far different person. And a more complex one. Lefty Gomez was widely consi ...more
Bill Hall
Apr 29, 2012 Bill Hall rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball, biography
It was once said that rooting for the New York Yankees was like rooting for U.S. Steel. The retort to that statement was comparing a team that, through the decades, has produced the likes of Babe Ruth, Lefty Gomez and Yogi Berra, to U.S. Steel is simple-minded. Vernon “Lefty” Gomez was indeed one of the more colorful characters in baseball history, and he receives his due in this biography co-authored by his daughter Verona and longtime writer Lawrence Goldstone.

This is a classic cradle-to-grave
Tom Gase
Aug 09, 2012 Tom Gase rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable read by Vernona Gomez with Lawrence Goldstone on Vernon "Lefty" Gomez, a great pitcher in the 1930s for the Yankees and a great character. Loved reading about his Yankee days with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio to name a few. Thought Gomez was a great character and loved how this book wasn't just about baseball (although the better portion of it is) but also his wife in the theater business and Vernon's love of aviation. The book is also great for me because it talked a ...more
Brent Soderstrum
Apr 17, 2012 Brent Soderstrum rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-read
I recieved an advanced copy through goodreads first read program.

I am a big baseball fan and I enjoy reading about history. You get great baseball history in this book on the life of Vernon "Lefty" Gomez who was a pitcher for the New York Yankess in the 1930s. Lefty's daughter is one of the authors and she gives you an in depth look at her father who was known for being goofy. I really enjoyed the footnotes which often contained the story behind the story. I learned some things about the Yankee
Lisa Valentine
Apr 11, 2012 Lisa Valentine rated it it was amazing
I received this book throught the Goodreads First Read program.

Great book about Vernon 'Lefty' Gomez, a pitcher for the Yankees in the 30's. Written by his daughter this book offers insights into his life that no one else would be able to offer. Lefty was a riot a minute as well as one the all time great baseball players. He played during the era when many other baseball greats whose names are still known by all played.

These were the days when ball players actually played the game. Competitive
Dec 12, 2013 Spiros rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who want to understand southpaws
The archetype of what a southpaw should be (well, Rube Waddell was there first), when they made Vernon Gomez, they broke the mold. A fierce competitor, a lightning quick wit, a bon vivant, and a loyal friend and teammate, Lefty was also capable of screwing up big time (his brief furlough from his storybook wedding to Broadway actress June O'Dea, his attempt to quit booze cold turkey and unaided). Amazingly, his career basically started as a teenager, pitching semi-pro ball for a team in Point Re ...more
Apr 04, 2012 Donald rated it really liked it
I grew up in Novato, and was one of the lucky kids who got to meet this wonderful man and look at all the memorabilia in his home! This story is an amazing look at a man who's life spanned the depression to the first President Bush, and who's playing career spanned from Babe Ruth to Joe D. And along the way he seemed to rub shoulders with a who's-who of everyone else in that era! Fidel Castro, Papa Hemingway, Kurt Russell, James Michener and too many others to mention here! Read this book to lea ...more
Apr 23, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
I recieved an advanced copy through goodreads first read program.

I'm not a big baseball fan, but i found the book to be very informative and intertaining. You get great baseball history in this book on the life of Vernon "Lefty" Gomez who was a pitcher for the New York Yankess in 1930s. Lefty's daughter is an author that gives her insight on how her dad was; funny, goofy, and lovable. I also like the behing the story, story. It was very in sitful knowing what happened with the team itself.

I woul
Mar 23, 2013 Rod rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book but thought it had more biographical material than actual baseball commentary. It is a biography, of course, so some may enjoy reading the details of Lefty's life more than summaries of his baseball seasons. This account truly has the personal touch since it is co-authored by Lefty's daughter. I would probably actually give it a 3.5 but it wasn't a 4 star book for me. If you want to share the life of one of baseball's great characters, you will enjoy this book.
Feb 24, 2013 zumiee rated it it was amazing
The compelling, dramatic, and often laugh-outloud story of one of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game, Lefty Gomez. His life story is remarkable, starting in poverty in a small town in Northern California, and ending up in the bright lights of New York City, playing baseball on its biggest stage, and having great success. It's a very well-written biography, co-authored by the pitcher's daughter, and comes across as a very honest telling of Lefty's life-story, warts and all.
Mark Widman
Feb 25, 2013 Mark Widman rated it really liked it
Great stories of Lefty Gomez life in baseball and his personal life. Meeting stars Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and his wife's friends in the entertainment world. Lefty's life from growing up to baseball player, coach, his life after baseball as a public speaker and his battles with alcohol. Very interesting.
Aug 03, 2012 Dan rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting story of a pitcher who was much more than his "flake" persona. He did say some very funny things, but he was also a pilot, as well as an accomplished sax player. Playing with the Yankees in the 30's an 40's, he was connected with some very famous players. Through his marriage to a Broadway star, he also knew a lot of show folk. All in all, a good read.
Mar 23, 2013 Mike added it
I try to read one baseball biography a year, during the season. This one was lent to me by my father....I bought it for him when it came out because as a kid he once got to shake Lefty Gomez's hand at Yankee Stadium. Dad liked the book, mailed it to me to read, and I liked it too...
Sep 17, 2012 Maxine rated it really liked it
My father lived across the street from Lefty's mother-in-law, Nellie Schwartz and I grew up hearing Lefty stories from both my parents. I even had the pleasure of meeting him back in the mid-80's. So reading about his baseball career & family was especially interesting to me.
Aug 04, 2012 Candace rated it it was amazing
I love baseball, old time baseball that is. They played for the love of the game way back in the early 1900's. This is a wonderfully written book, not just about Lefty Gomez, but many other greats.
Jun 20, 2012 Alan rated it liked it
Full of many details about early baseball and what it took to saty in the game. Lefty is a very interesting and dedicated player. Nice read.
Jim Blessing
Sep 30, 2012 Jim Blessing rated it liked it
Shelves: baseball
Entertaining book on Vernon Gomez also known as Lefty or Goofy. I enjoy in depth books about significant baseball players and this was a good one.
P.e. lolo
May 10, 2012 P.e. lolo rated it really liked it
A good baseball book about a great picther. His life was very, very interisting when not playing baseball. A good story.
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