We remember Preston Gomez (1923-2009)

Pedro Gómez Martínez was born on this day in 1923 in Central Preston, Cuba. His career as a player was very short or a stint with the 1944 Washington Senators.

We will always remember Preston Gomez for being a manager in the major leagues. He managed the San Diego Padres, the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs.

Preston was actually the second Latin manager in the majors. Fellow Cuban Mike González managed the St. Louis Cardinals for 22 games during stints in 1938 and 1940.

As a manager, Gomez had the misfortune of leading an expansion team (San Diego 1969-71) and others during their losing years.

Nevertheless, he will always be remembered as the manager who twice lifted a starting pitcher for a pinch-hitter late in a game although he was throwing a no-hitter:

In July 1970, he used a pinch-hitter for Clay Kirby after he had pitched eight hitless innings in San Diego against the Mets, who led by 1-0. The pinch-hitter, Clarence Gaston, struck out, and the Mets went on to score two runs and get three hits in the ninth for a 3-0 victory.

In September 1974, while managing the Astros in a game against the Cincinnati Reds, Gómez sent Tommy Helms to the plate in the eighth inning in Houston to hit for Don Wilson, his starter. Wilson was seeking his third no-hitter, but the Reds led, 2-1. Helms grounded out, and then the Reds’ Tony Pérez led off the ninth with a single.

Honestly, Preston Gomez was right. His job was to win the game not to promote individual statistics. Nevertheless, they were very controversial moves.

After baseball, he worked as a scout with the Angels.

Who knows what kind of a manager he would have been with a winning organization? His baseball knowledge was respected throughout baseball.

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