Pedro Gomez, the longtime baseball writer and reporter for ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” died Sunday at his home in Phoenix, ESPN said. He was 58.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn that our friend and colleague Pedro Gomez has passed away,” said James Pitaro, Disney’s chairman of ESPN and Sports Content, said in a tweet. “Pedro was an elite journalist at the highest level and his professional accomplishments are universally recognized. More importantly, Pedro was a kind, dear friend to us all. Our hearts are with Pedro’s family and all who love him at this extraordinarily difficult time.”
The son of Cuban refugees, Gomez was born in Miami days after his parents arrived in the United States and two months before the 1962 missile crisis. Gomez attended Coral Park High School with six-time All-Star, Cuban-American baseball outfielder and designated hitter José Canseco. Gomez studied at Miami-Dade Community College and later at the University of Miami, where he graduated with a degree in journalism.
A journalism professor at Miami-Dade South Community College named Peter Townsend had seen Gomez’s passion for sports and guided him into his career. “I remember his line vividly,” Gomez wrote in his ESPN bio page, “’Pedro, if you go this route, your career will outlast every athlete you ever cover.’”
His first writing jobs were with the South Dade News Leader from 1984 to 1985 and Miami News from 1985 to 1988, where he covered high school and general assignment sports news. Afterward, Gomez went full-time on the baseball beat for seven years at the San Jose Mercury News, Miami Herald and Sacramento Bee newspapers. He established himself as an expert in all things Major League Baseball at the Arizona Republic, where he served as a sports columnist and national baseball writer from 1997-2003. It was there that Gomez was discovered by ESPN to serve as a Phoenix-based bureau correspondent for “SportsCenter.” He also covered baseball for “Baseball Tonight,” “Wednesday Night Baseball,” and other ESPN studio shows, events and radio.
In the span of his 35-year career, Gomez covered 25 World Series and 22 All-Star Games. Gomez once said that his favorite event that he covered for ESPN was Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, wherein the Florida Marlins beat the Chicago Cubs 8-3. He was a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, as well as a voting member for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Gomez played a vital role in the network’s landmark coverage of Barry Bonds from 2005-07.
Gomez also won the first-place award from the Arizona Associated Press Managing Editors’ Association for “Discovering the Home I Never Knew,” about his 1999 trip to Cuba, where he covered a historic exhibition game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuban national team. When Gomez returned to Cuba in 2016 to cover the face-off between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, he returned his father’s and brother’s ashes to their family home.
“Pedro was far more than a media personality. He was a Dad, loving husband, loyal friend, coach and mentor,” the Gomez family said in a statement. “He was our everything and his kids’ biggest believer.”
Gomez is survived by his wife, Sandra, and his three children Rio, Dante and Sierra.