What is it about?

This book follows the story of Isabel "Lefty" Alvarez from her troubled home in Havana, Cuba to playing professional baseball in the United States. Much of the book is focused on her life in Cuba as it played out in troubled times and through revolution. Baseball was her way out, out of Cuba, out of the grasps of her mother and sexual abuse. All was not easy once she came to the US however, the transition was difficult and led to a relance on alcohol. Then, in the 1980s baseball saved her again.

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Why is it important?

Lefty's story is important in the history of baseball, women's baseball, Cuba history and especially to girls and women around the world who struggle to fit in, to find a place to be ok in a world where they are constantly told they are not. Sport does that for many of us. Lefty's story illustrates that fact.


I wrote this book because Lefty was an inspiration from the second I met her. Her stories of abuse, confusion, a feeling of not belonging, and ultimately solace paralleled the stories of so many including me.

Dr. Kat Williams
Marshall University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Isabel “Lefty” Alvarez: The Improbable Life of a Cuban American Baseball Star, Sport History Review, May 2022, Human Kinetics,
DOI: 10.1123/shr.2022-0003.
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