Pedro Gomez, an Arizona-based reporter for ESPN who was a frequent presence at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, died unexpectedly last Sunday in his Valley home. He was 58 years old.
The Cronkite School and Gomez’s family established the Pedro Gomez Foundation Fund to honor his memory and continue his impact on sports journalism students.
“Not only was Pedro an incredible journalist, but he was an even better person,” said Brett Kurland, director of sports programs and the Phoenix Sports Bureau at Cronkite. “He was always so generous to everybody connected to Cronkite – our students, our alumni, our faculty. It wasn’t just class visits or speaking appearances or mentoring. He was the first to share advice and wisdom when he encountered a Cronkite student in a clubhouse, to welcome them in and show them the ropes, to give them a word of encouragement.”
“I would obviously love nothing more than if this fund didn’t exist and instead see Pedro walk into one of our classrooms tomorrow,” said Kurland. “He gave so much to Cronkite and its students. What an incredible honor that his family has chosen to establish this fund to carry his legacy forward at Cronkite, to continue his tremendous impact on the Cronkite community.”
“If we all live our lives the way Pedro Gomez led his life, we’re doing it right.” — Brett Kurland
Born shortly after his parents immigrated from Cuba, Gomez started his journalism career in Miami and made his way to The Arizona Republic in Phoenix before landing a job at ESPN in 2003.
“The fund, I would imagine, is exactly what Pedro would want,” said Paola Boivin, digital director of the Cronkite News Phoenix Sports Bureau and friend to Pedro. “He was always about helping others, whether they were journalists or just people that were underserved. People know him as such a great baseball mind, but I know him more for having a bigger heart.”
Boivin, who worked with Gomez at The Arizona Republic, said there was a time in her early career that she was being harassed in the Dodger Stadium visitors clubhouse. Former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser gave her words of encouragement, affirming that she belonged in the clubhouse as much as anybody else. When Boivin was inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, Gomez reached out to Hershiser to speak the same words of encouragement in her tribute.
“I’m crushed at what happened, but so grateful that the family is allowing his legacy to live on in this way,” said Boivin.
Boivin was amazed to see how many people were reacting online to the news, from 14-year-old high school students to the owners of major league baseball teams.
Gomez was a celebrated baseball journalist and left an impact on the many Cronkite students who had the opportunity to meet him.
“When I think of Pedro, the first thing that comes to mind is his generosity and his humility,” said Marco Peralta, a Cronkite student Gomez mentored. “The biggest compliment I have ever obtained is that a colleague mentioned to me that I reminded them of Pedro Gomez. I’m not at the level Pedro was in and I don’t think I’ll ever be but I hope to one day be like him and make him proud. I will carry his legacy everywhere I go.”
To make a gift to the Pedro Gomez Foundation Fund at the Cronkite School, visit www.asufoundation.org/pedrogomez or contact Lindsay Walker, director of development, at Lindsay.D.Walker@asu.edu or 602-496-5052.
The @Cronkite_ASU family is hurting after the news of Pedro Gomez’s passing. @pedrogomezESPN was a friend to all of us and inspired many young journalists inside and outside the classroom. His work, passion and wisdom is unmatched.— Cronkite News: Phoenix Sports (@sportscronkite) February 8, 2021
PC: @kfitz134, @madisondion, @brettkurland pic.twitter.com/ZtaBulrKMI
“Use your gift of being bilingual.”— Marco “Thee Alta” Peralta (@TheeAltaPeralta) February 8, 2021
That’s advice that the late #PedroGomez gave me one day.
I heard that advice before but when it came from him, it meant so much to me. Now that he’s gone, it means the world to me!
RIP @pedrogomezESPN! I hope to make you proud some day. ⚾️
As a young sports journalist I can honestly say Pedro changed my life. He proved to me no matter how hard it gets never give up. As long as I live I will do this for @pedrogomezESPN you are my hero. My prayers go out to them Gomez family. ? https://t.co/qSkSGMe5BF— Kerston Corns (@kerston_tae) February 8, 2021
“Stand on my shoulders kid. That’s how I got to where I am, and that’s how we’re going to get you to where you’re going.”— Chris Cadeau (@ChrisCadeau) February 8, 2021
This is what Pedro said to me when we first met. Forever grateful for his text convos, mentorship and love over the last few years. I’m crushed. ? https://t.co/UW7xnCVcbi
This one hurts. So much. And will for a while.— Madison Kerley (@madisondion) February 8, 2021
Pedro was always there to talk and provide advice during my years at @Cronkite_ASU. He lit up every room. He overcame so many obstacles to be one of the best at his job. Gone way too soon. https://t.co/Xgv4kpwCCT
Everything you’re reading about Pedro is true.— Matt Lively (@mattblively) February 8, 2021
The first time Pedro came to speak to our Cronkite class I was so excited and I knew we had a mutual friend. He walked in and said “which one of you is Carson’s friend?” I raised my hand, huge smile, in disbelief he’d even know 1/
If you grew up in Ahwatukee, you knew what a special dad Pedro was. If you went to @Cronkite_ASU, he was probably a guest speaker in one (if not several) of your classes. If you were a young reporter in a clubhouse, he probably gave you advice. Such a loss. Prayers for his family https://t.co/cr2q2dykA5— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) February 8, 2021
Pedro was an elite reporter and someone I have looked up to for years. I was always floored whenever I got to host the show and he was a guest. He was always so kind to a young reporter trying to figure it out. https://t.co/IQVh58BiyP— Jordan Hamm (@JordyHamm) February 8, 2021
Pedro was someone who I looked up immensely to growing up. When I got to know him in AZ, I was taken aback by his kindness. He spoke to my class each year because he cared so immensely about the next generation. We were all better for him, &for his caring spirit. I’m heartbroken. https://t.co/wBzl1eNWII— katherine fitzgerald ?? (@kfitz134) February 8, 2021