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Jonny Gomes

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Jonny Gomes after a head first slide into home.

Jonny Johnson Gomes (born November 22, 1980, in Petaluma, California) is a current outfielder and designated hitter in Major League Baseball. Gomes currently plays for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Early yearsEdit

Gomes was born in San Francisco, CA and was all-league at Casa Grande High School in his hometown of Petaluma. In May 1997, while in high school, he was a backseat passenger in a car accident that killed his best friend, also in the backseat. After graduating in 1999, he went to Santa Rosa Junior College before being selected in the 18th round of the 2001 MLB Draft by the Devil Rays. While he was in the rookie leagues, he was certified to become a personal trainer. His older brother, Joey Gomes, currently plays for the Newark Bears. The family name "Gomes" is Portuguese in ancestry.

Gomes suffered a heart attack on Christmas Eve, 2002, the result of a clogged artery, despite being in playing condition (he reported having 8% body fat at the time). He ignored the symptoms for 27 hours, even sleeping through it one night, before going to the hospital after he briefly blacked out and stopped breathing. His doctors said he would not have survived sleeping through it a second night. As a result of the heart attack, the team doctor of the Devil Rays has to keep nitroglycerin pills on-hand in case he has another one[1].

MLB careerEdit

Gomes made his major league debut on September 12, 2003. He spent 2004 back and forth between the Triple-A Durham Bulls and Tampa Bay. He told an interviewer that, when he was relegated back to Durham after a brief early stint in Tampa Bay in May 2005, he resolved that he would put up such an offensive onslaught that the Major League team would "get sick of looking at his face on the Tropicana Field scoreboard when the top Minor League performers were shown." He would have a .321 batting average with 14 HR and 46 RBI in 45 games with the Bulls before returning to the Rays for good in July[2].

After his return to Tampa Bay, Gomes became a starter for the club and has become one of the club's most important players. On July 30, he became the first Rays player to hit three home runs in a single game, against the Kansas City Royals. For the year, Gomes hit 21 home runs in only 101 games and 348 at bats. Projected over a full season, Gomes could have hit over 35 home runs. He became a fan favorite, and was known for his all out hustle and long home runs; one went 474 feet and went over the Batter's Eye Restaurant behind the center field wall at Tropicana Field. He finished 3rd in voting for the 2005 American League Rookie of the Year award.

Gomes figures to play a prominent role in the continued rebuilding and long range plans of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He started 2006 off with a bang by hitting a Rays-record 11 home runs in April. He hit the catwalk rings of Tropicana Field twice during a series with the Toronto Blue Jays in May; one landed in the B ring and rolled off to be caught, while the other hit the C ring and was ruled a home run (see the link to Tropicana Field for its ground rules). He struggled after his hot start, hitting nine home runs during the rest of the season and finishing with a .216 batting average. He attributed most of his problems to an injured shoulder, which hindered his hitting and his usually aggressive baserunning; he played through the injury until electing to have surgery on it in September. In addition to rehabilitating his shoulder, Gomes said in an article that he wants to lose weight over the offseason; he is listed at 205 pounds but played the 2006 season weighing 250. He also mentioned possibly playing first base in 2007 for the Devil Rays, who already have Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, and Delmon Young in their outfield. [1]

On Mother's Day, May 14, 2006, Gomes was one of more than 50 hitters who brandished a pink bat to benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation. Other Devil Rays hitters who used pink bats in 2006 included Greg Norton, Carl Crawford, Toby Hall, Damon Hollins, and Tomas Perez. [2]

During the first two months of 2007, Gomes was not given much playing time, and his BA was down to .184 when he was sent down to Durham again on May 25. He was recalled on June 14 and made an immediate impact. As of August 7, his BA is back up to .266, and he has hit 11 home runs since his return. His biggest weakness right now is an inability to draw a walk: for 2007, he has 61 strikeouts and 16 walks.

Gomes currently holds the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Baseball Club record for most hit by pitches, a total of 28. He achieved the team record when he was hit in the leg by Josh Beckett of the Boston Red Sox for his 26th on July 5, 2007.

Gomes typically bats with the first three buttons of his jersey unbuttoned.


  1. Gomes knows the score, Newsday, April 26, 2006
  2. Gomes large and in charge: Slugger lives life to the fullest after overcoming adversity,, May 3, 2006

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