Los Angeles Angels Tickets – Angels Lose Ambassador Gomez, 85

August 11, 2011
San Diego Padres
by ryan lejbak

Preston Gomez was a Major League player, manager, coach, scout, executive and special assistant to the general manager and he wore each role well in its respective time. Gomez was hit by a truck last year at Spring Training in Arizona in March. He died from some of the complications of his injuries in Fullerton, California.

Gomez was a pioneer and ambassador. “The Angels family has lost one of its invaluable members,” said Tony Reagins, Angels general manager. “His influence and impact on so many throughout the industry is impossible to measure. Preston’s legacy will forever remain a part of this organization.”

Gomez began his career as a player in 1944. The 21-year old native of Havana, Cuba became a shortstop and played with the Washington Senators. He made history in 1969 by accepting the first manager position for the San Diego Padres. The Padres expressed deep sadness at Gomez passing, commenting that his love of the game made a lasting impression.

During his playing career, Gomez batted .286 in eight games but then spent the balance of his playing career in the Minors. 1951 was his best season with 9 home runs, 58 RBIs and batting .268 for a team in Pennsylvania know as Three Rivers.

His managing career in the Minor League included the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati and the New York Yankees. Gomez also coached St. Louis and Houston. In 1965, Gomez accepted the position of third-base coach with the Dodgers and served for four seasons, during which time he earned a World Series title and two National League pennants. “The man spent his entire life in baseball,” said former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda.

When Gomez moved to the Major League, he managed three Major League teams and became a major credit to their game. Gomez joined the Los Angeles Angels in 1981 as a third base coach and worked in that capacity for four seasons, from 1981 to 1984, after which he began a special assistant to the GM until his death.

“His professional success was matched by his personal warmth. He had a kind and generous spirit and will be greatly missed,” said Sandy Alderson, Sand Diego Padres CEO

Angeles manager Mike Scioscia invited Gomez to participate in Spring Training every year and believes that anyone who had a chance to spend time with Gomez couldn’t help but realize his incredible passion for baseball.

Preston Gomez is survived by his wife Elizabeth, sisters Rachel Valz and Sara Raspall, brother Jose Gomez, son Pedro, daughter Elia, step-daughter Claudia Astorga, adopted son Carlos Becerra and grandchildren Sergio Jr. and Eliana.

Spring Training will go on as usual in February but with the loss of Gomez so close to the start of another Spring Training, it is certain that his warmth, experience and kindness will be missed. Men like Preston Gomez don’t come along every day and will be remembered fondly for his many contributions to the game of baseball.

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