The Gomez family said in a statement: “Pedro was far more than a media personality. He was a Dad, loving husband, loyal friend, coach and mentor.”
Gomez, the son of Cuban exiles, grew up in Miami. He covered sports at newspapers in Miami and San Diego before getting a job covering baseball full-time for the Sacramento Bee, where he covered the Oakland Athletics from 1990 to 1994. He was the national baseball writer for the Miami Herald in 1994 and 1995 before covering the A’s again, this time for the San Jose Mercury News. He moved to the Arizona Republic in 1997 and then in 2003 to ESPN, where he became a well-known face in the network’s baseball coverage.
During the trip, Gomez spoke with Scott Van Pelt on “SportsCenter” and told viewers that he had brought the ashes of his father and brother with him and sprinkled them on the island. Fighting back tears, he explained, “I am very happy that as a journalist I have been able to come here to … my home land … [which] has always meant so much to me because … there’s a big piece of me here, always.”
Alden Gonzalez, a baseball reporter at ESPN, tweeted Sunday night about what Gomez’s career had meant to him and how it had shaped his own.
“Pedro Gomez grew up in the same Miami neighborhood where I was born,” Gonzalez wrote. “He was a Cuban-American who spoke Spanish as a first-language, became a prolific columnist … and turned that into a brilliant career on television. [In] short, he carved out a path for people like me who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to picture one. And he did it with a charm that I can’t even imagine.”
His death prompted an outpouring of grief, from MLB and team officials and players, and from ESPN colleagues.
“One of the kindest and most genuine people you’d ever come across in our game,” pitcher Alex Wood wrote. “We were all better off for knowing him personally and professionally.”
Gomez is survived by his wife, Sandra; sons Rio and Dante; and daughter, Sierra. Rio Gomez is a pitcher in the Boston Red Sox organization.