Wednesday, January 27, 2021

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats Lefty Gomez


Some nice photos here. Here's a better look at the Yankee Stadium action shot:

On-the-field trivia: The ace of the pitching staff for the great Yankee teams of the 1930s, Lefty Gomez led the AL in wins and ERA twice and strikeouts three times. He was at this best in October: in 7 World Series games Gomez was 6-0 with a 2.86 ERA.

Off-the-field trivia: Gomez was none as one of the great wits of the game. His plaque at Monument Park says of Gomez: "Noted for his wit and his fastball, as he was fast with a quip and a pitch." Among his most famous moments were walking up to the plate in the twilight against Bob Feller with a lit match in his hand to make sure Feller could see him, and responding to criticism that the Yankees' great defense made him seem better than he was by saying "I'd rather be lucky than good". He invented the term "gopher ball" for a home run, saying his outfielders had to go-fer several that he gave up in a game.
While with the Yankees he attended a nightclub performance by Broadway star June O'Dea, fell in love with her and they eventually married. They nearly divorced in 1938 in a well-publicized separation, but mutual friend Jack Dempsey was able to get the couple to reconcile. The couple were married for 56 years when Gomez died in 1989.
After his playing career Gomez, the second Hispanic player elected to the Hall of Fame, was one of the founders of the first Venezuelan professional baseball league, made up of Latin players as well as Black players who were avoiding segregated ball in the US. 

My collection: I do not have any playing-days card of Gomez. His last card as an active player was in the 1941 Play Ball set.

1 comment:

  1. Wasn't familiar with O'Dea... but I looked her up and fell in love with her smile. Glad they stayed married.