Lefty Gomez

Vernon Louis Gomez
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1972
Primary team: New York Yankees
Primary position: Pitcher

"I'd rather be lucky than good," Lefty Gomez once said.

Vernon Louis Gomez, or "Lefty" as he'd come to be known, was far more talented than he'd ever give himself credit for. Notorious for an overpowering fastball as he was for his razor-sharp wit, Gomez's lighthearted nature belied a ferocious ability to get hitters out. Born in Rodeo, Calif., on Nov. 26, 1908, Gomez attended Richmond High School. He came to the San Francisco Seals' attention around this time and was brought into their organization, but he wasn't long for it. On Aug. 17, 1929, the New York Yankees purchased Gomez from the Seals for the sum of $45,000.

Gomez was used primarily in relief during his first season with the Yankees in 1930, making only a handful of starts. Lefty went on to win 20 games his sophomore season, firmly entrenching himself in the Yankees' rotation. The next year would hold more of the same for Gomez, as he posted 24 wins, but Lefty's best was still yet to come.

In 1933, Gomez led the majors in strikeouts and was selected to the first All-Star Game. It would be the first of seven consecutive All-Star Game appearances for him. Gomez's 1934 season stands out as his best; he dominated the MLB pitching leaderboard that year, pacing the league in wins (26), win percentage (.839), ERA (2.33), complete games (25), shutouts (6), innings pitched (281.2) and once again in strikeouts (158). Lefty would go on to win another pitcher's Triple Crown in 1937. While Gomez received his fair share of individual accolades, he was also a vital cog in the Yankee machine that dominated the late 1930s.

Lefty's postseason legacy is virtually without flaw; he won every game he started in each of the 1936 and 1937 World Series (both versus the New York Giants). In total, Gomez started seven games and was awarded six victories with zero losses. At the end of his career, Lefty would have championships to fully decorate a hand ('32, '36, '37, '38, '39).

The Veterans Committee elected Gomez into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Feb. 2, 1972. After spending his final years in Novato, Calif., Gomez died in 1989.

"A sweetheart of a guy and a sweetheart of a pitcher. "
Tommy Henrich

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Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1972
Primary Team: New York Yankees
Position Played: Pitcher
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Birth place: Rodeo, California
Birth year: 1908
Died: 1989, Greenbrae, California
Played for:
New York Yankees (1930-1942)
Washington Senators (1943)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
368
HitsH
2290
RunsR
1091
Innings PitchedIP
2503
WinsW
189
LossesL
102
Winning %Winning %
.649
Games StartedGS
320
ERAERA
3.34
Complete GamesCG
173
ShutoutsSHO
28
WHIPWHIP
1.352
SavesSV
10
Earned RunsER
930
WalksBB
1095
StrikeoutsSO
1468