Lefty Gómez

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Vernon Louis "Lefty" Gómez (November 26, 1908 - February 17, 1989) was a left-handed Major League pitcher who played in the American League for the New York Yankees between 1930 and 1942.

Gómez was born in Rodeo, California. In his career, almost entirely spent with the Yankees, he had a 189-102 record with 1468 strikeouts and a 3.34 ERA in 2503 innings pitched. His contract was sold to the Boston Braves in 1943. Released by the Braves that same year without appearing in a game, Gomez signed with the Washington Senators, but pitched only one game for the team before being released to end his career.

Template:MLB HoF A 20-game winner four times and an All-Star every year from 1933 to 1939, Gómez led the league twice each in wins, winning percentage and ERA, and three times each in shutouts and strikeouts. In both 1934 and 1937, he won pitching's "Triple Crown" by leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts; he also led the AL both seasons in shutouts. His .649 career winning percentage ranks 15th in major league history among pitchers with 200 or more decisions; and among pitchers who made their ML debut from 1900-1950, only Lefty Grove, Christy Mathewson and Whitey Ford have both more victories and a higher winning percentage than Gomez.

Gómez set a pair of World Series records: winning six games without a loss (1932-1, 1936-2, 1937-2, 1938-1); and most walks received by a batter in the same inning (6th, on October 6, 1937).

In the historic first major league All-Star Game (July 6, 1933), Gómez not only was the winning pitcher for the American League, but also drove in the first run of the game.

In retirement, Gómez became a sought-after dinner speaker known for his humorous anecdotes about his playing days and the personalities with whom he had spent his career. He was elected to membership in the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1972. On August 2, 1987, he and a later Yankee lefthander, Whitey Ford, were honored with plaques to be placed in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. Gomez's plaque says he was "Noted for his wit and his fastball, as he was fast with a quip and a pitch." Although he was honored with the plaque, his uniform number 11 has not been retired, and has since been worn by Yankees such as Joe Page, Johnny Sain, Hector Lopez, Fred Stanley, Dwight Gooden, Chuck Knoblauch and Gary Sheffield.

Lefty Gómez died on February 17, 1989 in Greenbrae, California, at 80 years of age.

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