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Lefty

An American Odyssey
Gomez, Vernona & Lawrence Goldstone. Lefty: An American Odyssey. Ballantine. May 2012. c.432p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780345526489. $28. SPORTS
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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.

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