Former Dodgers Coach Preston Gomez Dies

Preston Gomez, who coached the Dodgers 1965-68 and 1977-79, died in Fullerton, CA. He never fully recovered from head injuries sustained last March when he was hit by a pickup truck while walking to his car in Blythe, Calif. He was 85. Known as one of the warmest and friendliest figures in the game, Gomez spent 64 years in professional baseball as a player, coach, manager, scout and consultant.

"The man spent his entire life in baseball," Hall of Fame Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda. "He came from Cuba and got the opportunity to work for the Dodgers. "He managed three major league teams and was a credit to the game. We are very sorry to see him pass away. He wore the Dodger uniform with pride and dignity. He has helped a lot of people in our game and he will be missed."

Gomez also managed the San Diego Padres, Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs over a six-decade Major League career. He also managed in the Dodgers minor league system.

Before the accident, Gomez had been a fixture around the ballpark and had been in the Angels' organization since 1981, most recently as an assistant to the general manager. Angels manager Mike Scioscia annually invited Gomez to instruct in camp.

"Preston had an incredible passion for baseball and was a mentor for all of us who were fortunate to spend time with him," Scioscia said. "He will certainly be missed, but I know his presence will be felt every time we take the field because of the knowledge and wisdom that he imparted to us."

Four years after becoming a Dodgers coach, Gomez moved to the Padres. He was hired by former Dodgers vice president Buzzie Bavasi, who had become president and part-owner of the newborn Padres. San Diego lost 110 games in Gomez's first season.

Gomez was born Pedro W. Gomez Martinez on April 20, 1923, in Central Preston, Cuba. He managed seven years in the majors, going 346-529 in a span from 1969 to 1980. He never had a winning season, coming the closest at 81-81 in 1974 in the first of his two seasons with the Astros.

Gomez was inducted into the Hispanic Baseball Heritage Museum Hall of Fame in 2003.

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