ESPN says one of its longtime reporters, Pedro Gomez, died unexpectedly on Sunday at the age of 58.
Gomez joined ESPN in April 2003 and was best known for his coverage of Major League Baseball. He appeared on SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight and other shows.
Throughout his career, ESPN says Gomez covered more than 25 World Series and 22 All-Star Games. He was also a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and was a voting member for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Before his time at ESPN, Gomez worked at the Arizona Republic as a sports columnist and national baseball writer from 1997 to 2003.
“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 in a statement. “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 was a South Florida native who attended the University of Miami. He’s survived by his wife, Sandra, sons Rio and Dante, and daughter Sierra.
On Monday ABC15 talked with Scott Bordow, a sports writer and columnist in the Valley for 38 years.
"Pedro was just one of the great, genuine guys in this business," Bordow said. "You will not find, I know this is a cliche, but you will not find a single person that has anything bad to say about Pedro."
Bordow never worked with Gomez, but knew him well from all the years of covering Valley sports where the two would routinely cross paths.
"I think what made Pedro successful was his ability to connect with so many people," Bordow said. "If you went out to a baseball stadium with him and covered an event with him, he knew everybody. Every player in the clubhouse, the coaches, the managers, the equipment guys."
Bordow recalled when Gomez got the columnist job at the Arizona Republic in 1997, a job Bordow said he had interviewed for at the time but didn't get.
"For a short while, before I met him, I kind of had this distaste for Pedro, just because he had taken the job I wanted, I'm not really proud to admit that," Bordow said. "As soon as I met him, I just said, 'how can I be mad at this guy?' He was just the nicest guy."
Bordow said Gomez was widely respected among the teams and athletes he covered.
"I think athletes and coaches respected him because he didn't take cheap shots," he said. "He'd make sure he was there if he wrote or said anything critical. He was a great storyteller, but I think just people generally appreciated who he was as a person and how he acted as a journalist."
Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill remembered Gomez as a "consummate pro" who was one of the most kindest, decent people you could ever meet.
Michael Bidwill on the passing of Pedro Gomez: pic.twitter.com/AAbFpf0Lq6— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) February 8, 2021
Arizona Cardinals player Larry Fitzgerald tweeted he is "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
The Arizona Diamondbacks said they were, "devastated by the loss of their friend Pedro," saying he earned the respect of everyone if in the organization.
The D-backs family is devastated by the loss of our friend Pedro. He earned the respect of everyone in the organization and was a true friend to so many in Arizona. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and all whose lives he impacted. pic.twitter.com/dYZqyH0xyg— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) February 8, 2021
"They didn't come better than Pedro," tweeted ABC15 Sports Director Craig Fouhy.
Horrible News! So sad to lose a good friend and colleague. They didn't come any better than Pedro. Prayers to his family... https://t.co/RIxAlsBWUo— Craig Fouhy (@FouhyOnSports) February 8, 2021
Former co-worker Paul Coro called Gomez a "proud family man, caring person and great journalist."
This was three days ago. It’s all you need to know about Pedro. Proud family man. Caring person. Great journalist. RIP, my friend.— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) February 8, 2021
His response to “Do you have a photo with a pro baseball player?” was to post pics with his son, Rio. https://t.co/Vl8jfAuaaf
The University of Arizona called Gomez, a "great man, proud father and true professional."
Our thoughts are with Rio and his entire family over the tragic passing of his father, Pedro Gomez. Pedro was a great man, a proud father, and a true professional. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/Y2W0sCOG8o— Arizona Baseball (@ArizonaBaseball) February 8, 2021
Former Arizona Diamondback Luis Gonzales tweeted, "Pedro was an amazing man," who was respected in every locker room he walked into.
My heart is heavy tonight to hear about the loss of my good friend, Pedro Gomez. Pedro was an amazing man that was respected in every locker room he ever walked into. He will be greatly missed in the baseball and sports community. My family and I send our thoughts and prayers. pic.twitter.com/UWQ4r8kPyY— Luis Gonzalez (@Luisgonzo20) February 8, 2021