Former Giant Ruben Gomez was 77

Updated: July 28, 2004, 9:16 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Former San Francisco Giants pitcher Ruben Gomez, who won baseball's first regular season game on the West Coast, has died. He was 77.

Gomez died Monday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to the San Francisco Giants. He had suffered from a long illness.

Gomez, who won 76 games in a 10-year career, started the first game in San Francisco Giants history, beating Don Drysdale and the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-0 on April 15, 1958. The two teams moved from New York after the 1957 season, bringing the majors to the West Coast.

Gomez also was the first pitcher from Puerto Rico to win a World Series game, combining with Hoyt Wilhelm to beat the Cleveland Indians 6-2 in Game 3 of the 1954 Series. The Giants went on to sweep the Indians.

"Ruben was my idol when I was a kid," Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, who played with Gomez in 1958, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I've known him since I was 2 years old. He was everybody's idol in Puerto Rico. He was the biggest athlete in Puerto Rico at that time."

Gomez had his best season in 1954, going 17-9 with a 2.88 ERA. He also won 13 games as a rookie in 1953 and 15 in 1957.

He was traded from the Giants along with Valmy Thomas to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jack Sanford after the 1958 season. He split the 1962 season with Cleveland and Minnesota and made a brief comeback five years later with the Phillies.

Gomez finished his career with a 76-86 record and a 4.09 ERA in 289 games.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press