Pedro Gomez of ESPN was a beloved figure in the world of baseball and his death from sudden cardiac arrest on Feb. 7, 2021—Super Bowl Sunday—unleashed an outpouring of heartfelt tributes. He was 58, a hard-nosed reporter when he had to be but mostly a smiling ambassador of the sport with a knack for bringing alive the human stories that give people an emotional connection to a big-money sport. Pedro, a proud Cuban American, was known for his dramatic reporting from Havana. Fully and fluidly bilingual, he did as much as anyone to bridge the wide gap that had existed between U.S.-born players and the Latin Americans now so important to the game’s vitality and future growth. He was also a family man who loved to talk about his three children, Sierra, Dante and Rio, a Boston Red Sox prospect.
Pedro’s humanity and generosity of spirit shaped countless lives, including one of his ESPN bosses, Rob King, who was so moved by Pedro’s advice to him—“Remember who you are”—that he printed up the words and posted them on the wall of his office in Bristol. King is one of 62 contributors to Remember Who You Are: What Pedro Gomez Showed Us About Baseball and Life, who turn Pedro’s shocking death into an occasion to reflect on the deeper truths of life we too often overlook. Part The Pride of Havanaand part Ball Four,part The Tender Barand part Tuesdays With Morrie, this is the rare essay collection that reads like a novel, full of achingly honest emotion and painful insights, a book about friendship, a book about standing for something, a book about joy and love.
Timed for Father’s Day release, Remember Who You Aretells stories of fathers and sons, and fathers and daughters, brought together by the magic of loving baseball—and loving life. Former New York Timeswriter Jack Curry writes about Pedro’s passion for live music, and former Sports Illustratedwriter Tim Kurkjian brings alive spring-training basketball games. Detroit manager AJ Hinch and formers Texas manager Ron Washington both reveal that in their darkest hours Pedro gave them some of the best advice of their lives.
Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley, Tony La Russa, Peter Gammons, Ross Newhan, Tracy Ringolsby and Dan Shaughnessy are among the contributors. So are likely future Hall of Famers Max Scherzer and Dusty Baker. Pulitzer-Prize-winning Washington Postwar correspondent Steve Fainaru, award-winning writers from Howard Bryant and Mike Barnicle to Tim Keown, Ken Rosenthal and Dave Sheinin also contribute. Rounding out the mix are current and former ESPN stars including Rachel Nichols, Shelley M. Smith, Peter Gammons, Bob Ley and Keith Olbermann.
This is a book to rekindle in any lapsed fan a love of going to the ballpark, but it’s also a wakeup call that transcends sports. To any journalist, worn down by the demands of a punishing job, to anyone anywhere, pummeled by pandemic times and the dark mood of the country in recent years, these essays will light a spark to seize every opportunity to make a difference, in your work and in the lives of people who matter to you.