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Elephant Rumblings: Pedro Gomez, ESPN journalist and former A’s beat writer, dies at 58

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Good morning afternoon, Athletics Nation!

The baseball world lost one of its top journalists on Sunday, as ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez died at age 58. The cause of death has not been revealed, but ESPN’s news release states that he “passed away unexpectedly.”

While Gomez began his sportswriting career in Miami in 1985, his first full-time job as an MLB beat writer came in 1992, when he covered the Oakland A’s for the San Jose Mercury News (and later the Sacramento Bee). From there he became a national reporter for the Arizona Republic, and in 2003 he joined ESPN. One of the highlights of his time at ESPN was his coverage of Barry Bonds and the slugger’s chase for the career home run record.

The outpouring of support and kind words shows how fondly Gomez is remembered. Here are a few just from A’s media:

  • Susan Slusser, S.F. Chronicle: “Absolutely devastated. Pedro was a true, wonderful friend for nearly 30 years. Like everyone who knows him, I’m just heartbroken. All my love to his family. There are few people who could light up a press box or field like Pedro Gomez. I will miss him always.”
  • Martin Gallegos, MLB: “I can’t believe this. Pedro was one of the guys I looked up to in this business. Always enjoyed catching up with him in Spring Training. Just awful news. RIP”
  • John Hickey: “It is such crushing news to learn of the passing of ESPN’s Pedro Gomez. Saw his work up close over the last quarter century, and he was one of the best. He was always a pleasure to be around. RIP”
  • Jane Lee: “Kindness matters. Thank you, Pedro Gomez, for sharing so much of it with so many people. You made a hesitant 22-year-old beat reporter feel like a 22-year vet, and it meant everything.”
  • Vince Cotroneo, A’s radio: “Dominic played against Pedro’s son Rio at a summer tournament in Cooperstown when they were 12. Years later, as Dom began his journey in broadcasting, Pedro was a mentor and was always available to him. Multiply that story by a million, and you have who Pedro was to the world.”
  • Melissa Lockard, The Athletic: “I only met Pedro Gómez a few times but reading all these stories two things are clear: 1) it’s an absolute crime that he didn’t get to live to 100, and 2) his kindness helped the careers of so many great journalists. We need millions more like him in the world.”
  • A story from Howard Bryant of ESPN (click link to read the whole thing): “1) For the 2nd time in three weeks, I’m breaking Twitter hiatus to tell a story of a great person we’ve lost. ESPN’s Pedro Gomez: Sept. 18, 1993, I covered high schools for the Oakland Tribune, but the paper gave [John Hickey] a few days off, and sent 24-yo me to cover A’s-CHW. ...”

There are countless other stories out there of Gomez’s kindness and positivity, including this one from Tim Keown of ESPN and this one about him handing out clubhouse celebration champagne corks to fans as souvenirs. You can read more memories at this Kudoboard set up by writer Steve Kettmann at the request of Gomez’s family.

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