Pedro Gomez, an ESPN reporter since 2003 and one of the country's foremost baseball journalists, died unexpectedly Sunday. He was 58.
Gomez, who was based in Phoenix, covered baseball for SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight and other ESPN studio shows, live events and radio. During his 35-year career, he covered more than 25 World Series and more than 20 All-Star Games.
"We are shocked and saddened to learn that our friend and colleague Pedro Gomez has passed away," said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content. "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."
Gomez is survived by his wife, Sandra; sons, Rio and Dante; and daughter, Sierra.
"Pedro was far more than a media personality," his family said in a statement. "He was a dad, loving husband, loyal friend, coach and mentor. He was our everything and his kids' biggest believer."
Gomez's son Rio is a pitcher in the Boston Red Sox organization.
"Our hearts go out to the Gomez family," the team tweeted Sunday night.
The son of Cuban parents who went to Miami right before he was born, Gomez was part of ESPN's landmark 2016 coverage when the Tampa Bay Rays faced the Cuban national team in Havana. He returned his father's and brother's ashes to the family's home on that trip. He also covered a U.S. men's national team soccer match in Havana in 2008 for ESPN, and an exhibition game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuban national team in 1999.
ESPN's Pedro Gomez shares his family's emotional connection to Cuba and discusses several Rays players' "eye-opening" experiences during the trip.
Gomez was a vital part of the network's coverage of Barry Bonds from 2005 to 2007, including covering Bonds' chase to pass Henry Aaron's home run record in 2007.
Gomez also did play-by-play for an ESPN baseball game in 2014. He said his favorite event to cover was Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, when Chicago fan Steve Bartman reached out and attempted to catch a foul ball over Cubs outfielder Moises Alou in the playoff game against the Miami Marlins, who went on to score eight runs in the inning and force a Game 7 in the series.
Prior to joining ESPN, Gomez wrote for the Miami News, the San Diego Union, the San Jose Mercury News, Miami Herald and the Sacramento Bee -- specializing in baseball coverage -- before becoming a columnist and national baseball writer at the Arizona Republic in 1997.
Arizona Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall tweeted that Gomez "exemplified class and dignity at all times."
"He was a pro and our sport will miss him dearly," Hall wrote.
I am so sad over the news of the passing of my longtime friend Pedro Gomez of @espn who exemplified class and dignity at all times. He was a pro and our sport will miss him dearly. RIP good man.— Derrick Hall (@DHallDbacks) February 8, 2021
Among the teams Gomez covered as a beat writer were the Oakland Athletics of Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, among others. Gomez once told journalist Jeff Pearlman that it was like "we were traveling with The [Rolling] Stones."
The Athletics tweeted their condolences Sunday night, writing, "Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. We'll miss you, Pedro."
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
Major League Baseball, former manager and player Ozzie Guillen, and players including Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich and Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman memorialized Gomez, as well.
We are shocked and saddened by the passing of national baseball reporter Pedro Gomez. He was 58. pic.twitter.com/FVlcocprIh— MLB (@MLB) February 8, 2021
RIP my friend this is very sad news for me and my family. This was our friendship. Laughing having a good time. The game lost a good one thank you for always having my back. Te vamos extrañar pic.twitter.com/2wEWgfYAMY— Ozzie Guillen (@OzzieGuillen) February 8, 2021
Heartbreaking news. Always enjoyed the conversations every time he'd come through the clubhouse. He'll be missed by all. Prayers with his family 🙏🏻 https://t.co/ITpmqY2JpJ— Christian Yelich (@ChristianYelich) February 8, 2021
🙏🙏🙏🙏 Pedro Gómez... a great man— Alex Bregman (@ABREG_1) February 8, 2021
Gomez was an award-winning journalist, including a first-place award from the Arizona Associated Press Managing Editors' Association for "Discovering the Home I Never Knew," about his 1999 trip to Cuba.
Gomez was a native of Miami and attended the Miami-Dade Community College, where he found his passion for journalism, and the University of Miami.