The baseball world and beyond was stunned in the wake of the death of Pedro Gomez, an ESPN correspondent for the last 18 years and a former Mercury News reporter.
Gomez died unexpectedly Sunday afternoon at his home in the Phoenix area at age 58. He worked for the Mercury News from 1990 through 1995, covering the A’s in his last four years.
Among the outpouring of grief and memories came from the Athletics, Giants and the Boston Red Sox, where Gomez’s son Rio is a left-handed pitcher in the minor leagues after a college career at Arizona.
We are saddened by the passing of our friend Pedro Gomez. He was a fixture in the A’s clubhouse, covering the club for the San Jose Mercury News (1990-94) and Sacramento Bee (1995-97). Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. We’ll miss you, Pedro. pic.twitter.com/NLNhUK3WW0
— AthleticsPR (@AthleticsPR) February 8, 2021
Alex Wood, a Giants left-handed pitcher who signed in January, called Gomez “one of the kindest and most genuine people you’d ever come across in our game.”
Pedro Gomez was one of the kindest and most genuine people you’d ever come across in our game. We were all better off for knowing him personally and professionally. My deepest condolences to his family. What a terrible loss for our baseball community.
— Alex Wood (@Awood45) February 8, 2021
Howard Bryant, an author who worked at the Oakland Tribune when Gomez was at the Mercury News, recalled an instance when Gomez came to his defense regarding a misunderstanding with manager Tony La Russa in 1993.
La Russa was giving Bryant grief over a headline mistake when Gomez attempted to set things straight with the A’s manager.
“Tony, you know we don’t write the headlines,” Bryant recalled Gomez saying. “The story is right. Leave the kid alone. Why are you embarrassing him?’ It was Pedro, whom I didn’t know, never met, and worked for the San Jose Mercury News, a rival paper.”
Mercury News sports editor Bud Geracie, a columnist when Gomez was on staff, spent Sunday night reading stories from media members relaying stories similar in tone to the one relayed by Bryant.
“I was struck not so much by his acts of kindness – I had experienced that first hand – but by the fact that I’d never heard any of these stories,” Geracie said. “Another mark of the man. He didn’t broadcast the good things he’d done. He just did them.”
Reaction was limited to colleagues and Major League Baseball, with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald saying he was “completely gutted” by the news.
I’m completely gutted to hear this news. One of the best men I have been around. Always made the place better when he was around. This hurts https://t.co/Ww7pjejQMJ
— Larry Fitzgerald (@LarryFitzgerald) February 8, 2021
Gomez helped chronicle for ESPN the chase by Barry Bonds to eclipse the all-time home run record, and was particularly moved in 2016 by a trip to Cuba, the country his parents left before he was born.
This clip, especially about 2:00 in, tells you all you need to know about Pedro and what he held dear. Family. Baseball. His Cuban roots. Please give a prayer/good thought to his family. https://t.co/ybsarQ5cFT
— John Barr ESPN (@JohnBarrESPN) February 8, 2021
No cause of death was given. Gomez is survived by his wife Sandra sons Rio and Dante and daughter Sierra.