Kat D. Williams

Nov 16, 2020

Isabel “Lefty” Alvarez

The Improbable Life of a Cuban American Baseball Star

University of Nebraska Press 2020

For many of its participants, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) offered them an opportunity to change their lives, yet few were as transformed as that of Isabel “Lefty” Alvarez. As Kat D. Williams details in Isabel “Lefty” Alvarez: The Improbable Life of a Cuban-American Baseball Star (University of Nebraska Press, 2020), playing in the league gave her the chance for a new start in a different country. Williams highlights the role Lefty’s mother María played in encouraging her to take up sports as a way of escaping their family’s slide into poverty. Lefty’s involvement with baseball coincided with a unique period of opportunities for women in the sport, one that she embraced first by playing for an all-Cuban team then by signing a contract with the AAGPBL. Though a knee injury and the demise of the AAGPBL ended her professional career, Lefty remained in the United States after its demise, finding employment and becoming an active participant in the AAGPBL reunions that began in the 1980s.

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