Kat D. Williams traces Isabel "Lefty" Alvarez's life from her
childhood in Cuba, where she played baseball with the boys on the
streets of El Cerro, to her reinvention as a professional baseball
player and American citizen. Isabel "Lefty" Alvarez gives the
reader a look into Alvarez's young life in Cuba during the
turbulent years leading up to Castro's revolution, as political
differences tore families apart. Alvarez came to the United States
at fifteen, speaking no English, and experienced the challenge of
immigration as her mother pushed her to become a professional
athlete in her newly adopted country.
Through all the changes and upheaval, Alvarez found acceptance and
success as a player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball
League, where she was called "the Rascal of El Cerro." After the
league ended, Alvarez struggled with an undiagnosed learning
disability that limited her options. She persevered and reinvented
herself as a factory worker but later battled alcoholism and
depression until baseball returned to her life and she was able to
reconnect with her former teammates and become part of the active
community of former players.
Alvarez's life story illustrates the struggle and strength of a
young Latina immigrant and the importance of sport to her
transition to her new country and her enduring identity.