Gomez grew up in a family of five in the Dominican Republic city of Santiago, where material possessions were frequently lacking. His father, Carlos Sr., worked as a delivery driver for a bank, and there were days when a plate of rice and eggs had to suffice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Young Carlos aspired to a better life through sports. He played basketball, ran track and dabbled in judo and kick-boxing as a youth, but baseball was the obvious route to success. After eliciting interest from the Tigers, Braves, Cubs and Yankees, he signed with the Mets out of a tryout camp for a $60,000 bonus.
If Carlos wanted to play football, he could be one of the best receivers in the NFL.
At the start of 2007 spring training, Gomez awed onlookers with a 37-inch vertical leap. It was during the Mets' NFL combine-style tests. "That's good for an NBA prospect," said Philip Humber, Carlos's teammate in 2006 at Binghamton.
Gomez's father played professional softball in the Dominican Republic.
Gomez is smiling all the time. You can tell he has fun playing baseball.
Carlos is a bit of a throwback player, giving everything he's got on every play. His all-out hustle and obvious passion for the game endears him to fans, coaches, and his teammates. He is high energy and enthusiastic.
His excitable nature and youthful enthusiasm endear him to teammates and coaches, but those traits also make him one of the most unpredictable players in the clubhouse.
On several occasions in 2009, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has spoken candidly about not knowing what is going to happen when Gomez goes to the plate, or where the ball is going to end up when his powerful arm lets one fly from center field.
Gomez doesn't speak much English.
In 2005, Baseball America had Carlos at 16th-best prospect in the Mets' organization.
Before 2006 spring training, Baseball America rated Carlos as 6th-best prospect in the Mets' organization.
In the winter before 2007 spring training began, the magazine had Gomez up to #3 in the Mets' farm system.
His position hadn't changed by 2008 spring training—he was still third-best in the Mets' organization.
In 2006, Gomez had an Eastern League high 18-game hitting streak that snapped on July 26. Gomez hit .441 during the streak.
Carlos's flashy style has made some opponents mad, but it really is not a problem. He works hard at the game and gets the job done.
Gomez plays with such unbridled enthusiasm, former Mets general manager Omar Minaya feared he might range over from right field and crash into center fielder Carlos Beltran. But Minaya never worried that the Mets might be rushing Gomez.
“I don’t think you push the good ones too fast,” says Minaya, now a Padres senior vice president (in 2014). “With the good ones, it helps their development. I think that made him better.”
In December 2007, Carlos was married to his wife, Gerandy, in the Dominican. He and his wife went on a one-week honeymoon. Then, Gomez returned to Escogido where he continued playing in the Dominican Winter League.
One Minnesota sportswriter/columnist, Jim Souhan of the Star-Tribune, said that Gomez's Dominican accent somehow makes him sound like a Mafia witness in a Godfather movie.
Carlos kisses his bat. Asked when he started doing that, he said, "Like 10 years ago. Kiss it, talk to it, smell, whatever. My first at-bat. I talk to it and say, 'Come on, give me something now.' If I get a base hit, the next time I talk to it and I kiss it. I look at the spot where I hit the ball and it smells like fire," Gomez said.
- On May 7, 2008, Carlos hit for the cycle against the White Sox. He was the third-youngest player in major league history to hit for the cycle behind Cesar Cedeno and Alex Rodriguez, who were both 21.
Gomez and Luke Scottare the only players since 1969 to complete the cycle in reverse order: home run, triple, double, single.
During 2008 spring training with the Twins, Gomez proclaimed himself the Twins' future No. 3 hitter.
Any other player of Gomez's youth and cockiness would have inspired hazing from veterans, but Gomez is so guileless and enthusiastic that he quickly became the team's best source of light comedy.
Carlos wears very colorful clothes, like pink sweaters, lime green shirts, etc.
"My wife [Gerandy] likes it. I got a lot of colors, and they look good on me. I feel sexy [laughs]. I use a lot of different colors, the same way with my shoes," Gomez said. And he has a lot of shoes—over a hundred pairs.
Gomez is much more emotional than most players. Early in the 2009 season, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire talked with Carlos about trying to stay on an even keel, so that his big league experience would be more mellow.
"No one wants to win more, and no one cares more than him," Gardenhire said. "He's just a little more emotional than some of the other guys in the way he goes about it."
April 2009: Carlos' wife, Gerandy, delivered their first child.
Gomez never comes to the ballpark without a smile on his face. And he never hangs his head. He knows he has tried his best, so a slump doesn't really affect him like it does most players.
Major League Baseball and Rawlings jointly announced for the 2013 season that players will be required to wear the new S100 Pro Comp batting helmet, which is made of aerospace-grade carbon fiber composite designed to withstand ball strikes up to 100 mph. Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez happily reported that it stands up equally well against a baseball bat.
"I tell you what, man, this helmet is tough," said Gomez, who voluntarily wore the Rawlings S100 last season. "One time I got ticked off and I threw this like seven, eight times against a wall, and then I swung with my bat, and that thing won't break. I guarantee you this. I've tested it myself."
That helmet now sits, autographed, in equipment manager Tony Migliaccio's office at Miller Park. Gomez beat it so badly that the paint chipped, but the helmet remained otherwise intact. Compare that to traditional batting helmets, which Gomez says he could break apart with his bare hands.
In April 2013, Carlos called home and was scolded by his young son. Yandel, who would turn 4 in May, had been watching the Brewers-Cubs game on television and was not happy when Dad snapped his bat in half over his knee after a seventh-inning strikeout.
"¡Feo!," Yandel said. (Ugly!)
"He said, 'Why are you mad?' It's so ugly. It's not good,' " Gomez said the next day, after his emotions had cooled. "I felt bad, because a lot of kids follow me, a lot of kids look at me like a role model and I should not have done this. ... I don't want kids to go and do the same stuff."
So Gomez took to Twitter and issued an apology.
"I want to apologize to everyone for my actions today, sometimes you get caught in the heat of the moment," he tweeted. "I always try to be a good example and carry myself and uniform in a professional way, again I am truly sorry for my actions today."
José Reyes, who led the National League in stolen bases and triples for multiple seasons, said that Gómez is faster than he is. In fact, while he and Gómez were teammates with the Mets, Gómez routinely beat him in foot races during spring training in 2007.
September 25, 2013: Gomezdrew a one-game suspension from Major League Baseball for his role in inciting a benches-clearing incident in Atlanta.
"I expected that with what happened last night," Gomez said. "It's not good for baseball, all that's going on. You have to take it like a man and be responsible for the stuff that I did. Just take the game today and come back tomorrow and continue to finish hard and strong."
Atlanta'sReed Johnson, who ran onto the field and landed a punch against Gomez, also was suspended one game.
Tempers flared after Gomez stood to admire his first-inning home run against Braves starterPaul Maholm, a lefthander who had struck Gomez on the knee with a pitch back on June 23 at Miller Park—a plunking that Gomez deemed intentional. Braves catcherBrian McCannand Freeman had harsh words for Gomez when he finally began his trot, and Gomez yelled back all the way around the bases.
Before Gomez reached home plate, he was confronted by McCann along the third-base line, and both benches emptied for a fracas that led to ejections for Gomez, Freeman, and Braves backup catcher Gerald Laird. McCann was not ejected, but he and Freeman were fined by MLB.
Gomez believes the roots of his athleticism, his Gold Glove skill, were planted in playing several different sports as a youth in the Dominican Republic. In addition to baseball, he played basketball, boxed and loved judo. From age 12 to 15, Gomez was all about this martial art.
In judo, the goal is to pin, throw down or immobilize an opponent with a lock hold. While this does demand a certain level of physicality, judo is driven by intelligence above all.
Gomez sees that experience helping him today. He analyzes each at-bat.
March 2014: Carlos and his wife welcomed their second child.
April 20, 2014: Gomez and teammate/catcher Martin Maldonado were among four players suspended by Major League Baseball for their roles in Sunday's bench-clearing altercation with the Pirates.Carlos, who helped start the incident by exchanging heated words with Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole, was suspended three games. Maldonado, who punched Pittsburgh's Travis Snider, received a five-game suspension.
Snider was suspended two games, and Pirates catcher Russell Martin was suspended one game. All four players were fined undisclosed amounts; a source told ESPN's Buster Olney that Maldonado's fine was $2,500.
MLB announced the penalties Tuesday, saying in a release that the players were "suspended for their aggressive actions." Cole wasn't punished.
The scuffle began when Gomez and Cole yelled at each other following the Milwaukee star's triple in the third inning. Cole, who was near third base backing up the play, stormed toward Gomez, and they exchanged words.
The benches then emptied, and as the teams converged, Snider came onto the field and tackled Gomez, getting a minor assist from Martin in the process. Maldonado then threw a punch that left a cut and bruises around Snider's eye.
Father's Day will always conjure a particularly special memory for Carlos, and the dad who bears the same name. The holiday is celebrated in July in the Dominican Republic, and it marks an anniversary of sorts.
"It makes me feel emotional," Gomez said. "When I signed [with the Mets], I signed on Father's Day, and when I got the opportunity to come here to the States, he held my shoulder and told me, 'This is the opportunity I never had. Don't worry about us. Work, learn, have a good attitude every day you go to the job, no matter what you do. Have a smile on your face, and the day is going to start good.'
"That's what I do. As soon as that plane took off from the Dominican, I started crying. I was 16 years old, I'm going to miss my family. As soon as I got to the States, every time I looked in the mirror, I looked at myself and thought, 'Wow, I'm by myself now.' Every day, I work like my dad told me. That made me feel motivated to never give up."
Carlos Sr. was a fine player in the Dominican Republic, first as a second baseman and then -- "When he got old," his son says with a sliver of a smile -- a center fielder. Briefly, at the very end of his career in the Dominican Republic's top league, Carlos Jr. served as his father's backup. Dad ultimately moved to right field so his son could take over center.
"That's how everything started," Carlos Jr. said.
Said Carlos Sr. with pride, "I played the game the right way."
What Carlos Sr. lacked was size, a feature evident when he stands beside his son today. The younger Gomez, who is in his second season as a bona fide big league star -- is listed as 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds in the Brewers' media guide, yet runs so swiftly that he was long ago saddled with the nickname, El Potro -- The Colt.
This is no accident. Gomez told a great story during Spring Training about how his father, intent on producing a son who would grow big enough and strong enough to play in the Major Leagues, set out to "marry a big woman to have a big kid."
He wed Belgika, who gave him three children. Carlos Jr. is by far the biggest.
"When he was 8 years old, I told my friend, 'He's going to be a baseball player. A real baseball player,'" Carlos Sr. said during an interview with MLB.com, his son serving as translator. "I took him everywhere to see how to play baseball and learn and pick something [up] from everybody else … 'Every day, learn something new from me and from my friends.'"
Today, the younger Gomez looks back and realizes, "He's the guy I owe everything. He's an example to [get an] education, be a good father, respect -- and give everything I have right now. I remember the words they told me. 'If you're going to play ball, you're going to play right, or not play.'
"When I was 12, 14 years old, I was just playing around, not taking it seriously. When he told me those words, I took it seriously. [My father said,] 'You have special talent. You can be a superstar, so work hard and you'll see everything is going to come one day.' That's what I did, and now I see the result."
"He reminds me of myself," Carlos Sr. said. "Every move he makes, I enjoy it because it's a dream. I used to be a baseball player, but I didn't have the opportunity [to play in the Majors]. Every time [his son] steps on the field, I feel like I do it. It's not one special moment. Every day I watch him play is special."
So, once and for all, who is the better ballplayer? The son translates. The Dad smiles.
"When we were the same age, 16-21, I used to be better," Carlos Sr. said. "I used to be faster. I knew the game more than him. But I didn't have the same luck that [his son] had."
Carlos Jr. broke out of his role as translator and fired a comeback.
"It's not lucky," he said with a wide smile. "I have more tools, more ability to play. Every time we joke around, play around like that, 'Who's better? Who's better?' I say, 'I'm the one who has almost eight years in the big leagues!'"
They'll never settle it.
Maybe they don't want to.
"Every time I see my dad, it motivates me," Carlos Jr. said. "He's my best friend … I have my own family now, and I want to teach my son the right way like my dad did for me." (Adam McCalvy MLB.com - 6/13/14)
Gomez was named to start in the outfield for the NL in the 2014 All-Star Game.
"Carlos doesn't have an off button," Hinch said of Gomez in July, 2016.
Newly signed, Carlos had hit 108 home runs entering his Rangers debut against the Indians in August, 2016. But for the first time in his 10-year career, he was nearly brought to tears after he sent a three-run shot into the left-field seats in his first at-bat with his new team.
"It was so emotional that [crying] is what I felt like," said Gomez, whose homer helped lead the Rangers to a 9-0 victory. "I feel so blessed, to come from having no job to coming here. To be in first place and to start like this right away is a gift from God."
"I enjoyed it, to see all the guys get up on the top [step] and go to the dugout and give high fives to each one is really fun," said Gomez. "That's what makes this team special. Having the opportunity to come to a team that can be in the playoffs is a [blessing]. I feel like my season will start today. You have to put some work in, too, to make the best of it. I'm happy to be in this clubhouse." (Posner - MLB.com - 8/26/16)
Gomez, who loves to post long videos to his Instagram chronicling his life, posted one of his collection of baseball memorabilia and awards from his own career.
And the man has an insane collection of autographed baseball bats from many former teammates and opponents, ranging from Gary Sheffield to Mike Trout to Vladimir Guerrero. The collection also includes a bat from teammate Adrian Beltre and some special bats he received to commemorate an All-Star appearance and hitting for the cycle. (Adam Grosbard - SportsDay - 2016)
Carlos wore his jersey with "El Titere" on the back during the Players Weekend. That is Spanish for "The Puppet," a nickname Gomez earned when he was 16 years old and playing in the Dominican Summer League after first signing with the Mets.
"We were in the Dominican and there was this lady from Puerto Rico," Gomez said. "She was about 50 years old. She asked me for some directions, but I didn't know where it was. We were in Santo Domingo and I was from Santiago. I didn't know where anything was. I asked my teammates and they told her.
"So, she said she wished she could have a puppet just like me so she could pull the strings and [have it] do something for her. So, all my teammates started calling me 'El Titere.' The Puppet." (Beats "Go-go," which is what he has been called by American teammates.)
"I have had a lot of nicknames," Gomez said. He will also wear "Carlos Gomez" on his patch. That is a tribute to his father, Carlos Gomez Sr.
"He is the guy I owe everything for being who I am," Gomez said. "He wanted to be a baseball player, but he didn't have the body or the physical ability to play, so God blessed him with a big strong son and everything I do on the field is because of him." (Sullivan - mlb.com - 8/25/17)
Rays manager Kevin Cash said during Spring Training 2018, "Carlos's signing came late. But he might be the perfect mix for this club. Super high energy. A lot of positivity. I think he's going to keep some guys in check, just the way he goes out and plays hard every day. And he's a really good player. This is a guy who has a track record of having success at the big league level."
Cash allowed that Gomez has been "outstanding" in the clubhouse.
"[Kevin Kiermaier] said the other day how awesome he's been," Cash said. "I mean, you see him, you can't knock the smile off his face. He's always in a good mood. I walked in this morning with him from the parking lot, and he's ready to go.
"I talked to him about his comfort. Where he hits in the lineup. Where he's hit in the past ... back and forth, and he's basically said put me wherever, I'm good. ... Once we get the 2018 season underway he's going to help us in many ways." (Chastain - mlb.com - 3/14/18)
2002: Gomez signed with the Mets out of the Dominican Republic when he was only 16 years old. Eddy Toledo was the scout who signed him.
February 1, 2008: The Twins sent P Johan Santana to the Mets, acquiring Gomez and righthanded pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra.
- November 6, 2009: The Brewers sent INF J.J. Hardy to the Twins, acquiring Carlos.
December 19, 2010: Gomez and the Brewers avoided salary arbitration, agreeing on a $1.5 million contract for 2010.
January 12, 2012: Carlos and the Brewers agreed to a one-year deal worth $1,962,500, avoiding salary arbitration. In addition to Gomez's base salary, he can earn $25,000 each for 450, 475, 500, and 525 plate appearances. (His performance bonuses are the same as they were in 2011. But neither year did he make it to 450 plate appearances.)
March 13, 2013: Gomez and the Brewers agreed on a four-year, $28.3 million contract. Carlos would have been eligible for free agency after this season. He agreed to a one-year, $4.3 million deal in January, and the new contract includes salaries of $7 million in 2014, $8 million in 2015, and $9 million in 2016.
July 30, 2015: The Brewers sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to Houston in exchange for four prospects and international signing slot No. 76. The Astros sent the Brewers: RHP Adrian Houser, OF Brett Phillips, RF Domingo Santana and LHP Josh Hader.
- Aug 20, 2016: The Rangers signed free agent Gomez.
Nov 3, 2016: Gomez chose free agency.
Dec 13, 2016: The Rangers signed free agent Gomez.
Nov 2, 2017: Carlos elected free agency.
- Feb. 22, 2018: The Rays signed Gomez on an incentive-laden one-year, $4 million deal.