When Yan Gomes stepped up with a single down the line to become the hero in Game 2, he didn’t just cap off the greatest comeback in Cleveland Indians playoff history.
He also made sure to dedicate the moment and the victory to his wife.
Friday night marked the fifth anniversary for Yan and Jenna Gomes, and upon getting the hit to win the game for Cleveland, Yan Gomes wished his wife a happy anniversary in front of a national television audience, a perfect gift given the couple’s long history with baseball.
Here are five things you need to know about Jenna Gomes.
1. She’s the Daughter of a Major Leaguer
Jenna Gomes knows the ins and outs of the Major League Baseball life better than just about anyone, because her father was Atlee Hammaker, a pitcher who spent most of his career with the San Francisco Giants and had most of his success in the early 1980s.
Hammaker wasn’t just a pitcher, he was a pretty good one. In 1983, he was an All-Star for the Giants, carrying a 1.70 ERA into the midway point of the year. However, he gave up the first grand slam in All-Star Game history, in large part because he was pitching through shoulder tendinitis in his previous three starts.
He remained a serviceable pitcher through the decade, but his injuries prevented him from consistently being the pitcher that he could be when he was at his peak. He ultimately stepped away from the game for good in 1995 after attempting a brief comeback with the Chicago White Sox. As a result of that comeback, Hammaker can claim something few players can: he was a teammate of both Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan.
2. She Met Her Husband at the University of Tennessee
Hammaker settled in Knoxville, Tenn., home of the Volunteer State’s flagship university. He had a long relationship with the state from his college days, when he attended East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn. as a baseball and basketball player. Jenna, who was one of five children, chose to stay home for college and attend Tennessee. During her freshman year, one of her friends on the baseball team introduced her to Yan Gomes.
According to Jenna, although Yan was instantly attracted to Jenna, she gradually warmed up to him because of his family-first personality. With four sisters in her life, family was important to Jenna, and as she saw that family meant just as much to Yan, their relationship blossomed.
3. She Ignored Her Father’s Advice on Her Husband
When Atlee Hammaker found out that his daughter was dating a baseball player, his reaction was not one of joy. He had nothing against Yan Gomes personally, but Gomes’ desire to play professional baseball bothered him and his wife. He knew the challenges of the life of a baseball player firsthand, and he wanted better for Jenna than what he had put his wife Jenny through during his career.
Jenna, however, wasn’t exactly one to listen to her father.
“I was always a rebel and did what he told me not to do,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Eventually, Hammaker and Yan developed a strong relationship. When Yan transferred away from Tennessee to Barry University, he and Jenna continued their romance, showing that she could handle the sacrifice of being away from her husband that all baseball wives must go through. In 2012, they were married while Yan was in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization. In 2013, then-Indians general manager Chris Antonetti traded for Gomes, and a year later, Yan fulfilled the promise he made to Hammaker that he would take care of his daughter when he signed a six-year deal for $23 million with the Indians.
4. She Stays Informed on the Sports She Cares About
Jenna Gomes is a graduate of Tennessee, and she and her husband are both avid fans of the Volunteers. When she updates her Twitter account, odds are that it’s going to be a post about either her husband, the Indians themselves, or the Volunteers.
Occasionally, two or more of them will blend themselves together, such as when Indians manager Terry Francona shared details of a meeting with legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, earning a mention from Jenna.
She’s also a regular at Indians games with the other Indians wives, and she’s been known to make the trip out to Goodyear, Ariz., for Indians spring training when Yan heads down to prepare for the season in February.
5. She and Her Husband Have a 3-Year-Old Daughter Together
The couple’s daughter Brooklyn was born in 2014, and she shows up regularly on Jenna Gomes’ social media pages. She also shows up occasionally in the Indians’ clubhouse, thanks to a team policy that allows players’ daughters in the clubhouse on Sundays, allowing her and her father to share moments that had long been reserved for players’ sons.
On days when she doesn’t come to the clubhouse, Brooklyn Gomes is still a regular presence at Indians games, as her mother frequently brings her along at home games, giving the family the opportunity for some special moments together before and after Indians games.
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