|LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: NFL player Victor Cruz of the New York Giants poses in the press room at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)|
Out of the Blue by Victor Cruz and Peter Schrager
“Victor Cruz, the Super Bowl-winning and record-breaking wide receiver, is best known for his explosive plays and salsa touchdown celebrations. While his meteoric rise in the NFL looked like the result of a magical year, it was actually a lifetime in the making.
Raised in Paterson, New Jersey’s gritty Fourth Ward, Cruz overcame numerous setbacks through hard work, perseverance, and the support of his loving family—from his grandmother who gave him his signature dance moves; to his late father, a former firefighter, who introduced him to football and taught him how to play; to his hard-working, single mother who never let him give up in the face of a challenge.
They all helped to keep him on the right path, as did his coaches, but Cruz’s journey was never easy. There were family tragedies, academic struggles, injuries, and more. In this inspiring, never-before-seen account, Cruz pays tribute to the people and places that made him the man he is today, recounts his most defining moments, and illustrates how his hardships ultimately unleashed his impenetrable will to win.
Out of the Blue is a candid and moving reflection of an overlooked and undersized athlete with an uncommon last name in American football that was determined to beat the odds and earn his chance to succeed.”
Lefty: An American Odyssey by Vernona Gomez and Lawrence Goldstone
|English: New York Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez’s 1936 Goudey baseball card. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
A baseball legend distinguished by his competitive nature, quick wit, and generous spirit, Lefty Gomez was one of a kind. Told for the first time, this is his remarkable story.
Born to a small-town California immigrant ranching family, the youngest of eight, Vernon “Lefty” Gomez rode his powerful arm and jocular personality right across America to the dugout of the New York Yankees. Lefty baffled hitters with his blazing fastball, establishing himself as the team’s ace. He vacationed with Babe Ruth, served as Joe DiMaggio’s confidant, and consoled Lou Gehrig the day the “Iron Horse” removed himself from the lineup. He started and won the first-ever All-Star Game, was the first pitcher to make the cover of Time magazine, and barnstormed Japan as part of Major League Baseball’s grand ambassadorial tour in 1934. Away from the diamond, Lefty played the big-city bon vivant, marrying Broadway star June O’Dea and hobnobbing with a who’s who of celebrities, including George Gershwin, Jack Dempsey, Ernest Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe, George M. Cohan, and James Michener. He even scored a private audience with the pope.
And even when his pro ball career was done, Lefty wasn’t. He became a national representative for Wilson Sporting Goods, logging over 100,000 miles a year, spreading the word about America’s favorite game, and touching thousands of lives. In 1972 he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Three baseball fields are named for him, and to this day the top honor bestowed each year by the American Baseball Coaches Association is the Lefty Gomez Award.
Now, drawing on countless conversations with Lefty, interweaving more than three hundred interviews conducted with his family, friends, competitors, and teammates over the course of a decade, and revealing candid photos, documents, and film clips—many never shown publicly—his daughter Vernona Gomez and her award-winning co-author Lawrence Goldstone vividly re-create the life and adventures of the irreverent southpaw fondly dubbed “El Señor Goofy.”
“I’d rather be lucky than good,” Lefty Gomez once quipped—one of many classic one-liners documented here. In the end he was both. A star-studded romp through baseball’s most glorious seasons and America’s most glamorous years, Lefty is at once a long-overdue reminder of a pitcher’s greatness and a heartwarming celebration of a life well-lived.
An American Son: A Memoir by Senator Marco Rubio
English: Former Speaker of the Florida House at CPAC in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Few politicians have risen to national prominence as quickly as Marco Rubio. At age forty-one he’s the subject of widespread interest and speculation. But he has never before told the full story of his unlikely journey, with all the twists and turns that made him an American son.
That journey began when his parents first left Cuba in 1956.
After Fidel Castro solidified his Communist grip on power, Mario and Oria Rubio could never again return to their homeland. But they embraced their new country and taught their children to appreciate its unique opportunities. Every sacrifice they made over the years, as they worked hard at blue-collar jobs in Miami and Las Vegas, was for their children.
As a boy, Rubio spent countless hours with his grandfather, discussing history and current events. “Papa” loved being Cuban, but he also loved America for being a beacon of liberty to oppressed people around the world. As Rubio puts it, “My grandfather didn’t know America was exceptional because he read about it in a book. He lived it and saw it with his own eyes.”
Devastated after his grandfather’s death, Rubio was getting poor grades and struggled to fit in at his high school, where some classmates mocked him as “too American.” But then he buckled down for college and law school, driven by his twin passions for football and politics.
He played football at a small college in Missouri, then came back to Florida to attend Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida. He went on to earn his law degree from the University of Miami and took a job at a law firm, which paid him a handsome salary that allowed his father to retire.
As a young attorney he ran for the West Miami City Commission, a role that led to the Florida House of Representatives. In just six years he rose to Speaker of the House and became a leading advocate for free enterprise, better schools, limited government, and a fairer, simpler tax system. He found that he could connect with people across party lines while still upholding conservative values.
His U.S. Senate campaign started as an extreme long shot against Florida’s popular incumbent governor, Charlie Crist. Undaunted by the early poll numbers and the time away from his wife and kids, Rubio traveled the state with his message of empowerment and optimism. He upset Crist in both the primary and a dramatic three-way general election, after Crist quit the GOP to run as an independent.
Now Rubio speaks on the national stage about the challenges we face and the better future that’s possible if we return to our founding principles. As he puts it, “Conservatism is not about leaving people behind. Conservatism is about allowing people to catch up.”
In that vision, as in his family’s story, Rubio proves that the American Dream is still alive for those who pursue it.