GLOUCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Rob Gloster, a longtime Associated Press Sports Writer who covered 10 Olympics, two soccer World Cups, tennis and golf majors, and other assignments from more than two dozen countries for four different wire services, has died. He was 62.
Gloster’s wife, Sharon, said he died Tuesday in a Bay Area hospital from complications of pancreatic cancer. Gloster’s last assignment for the AP was on Sunday, when he covered a game between the Rays and Giants .
“He was adamant that he wanted to come to that baseball game,” said Janie McCauley, an AP Sports Writer based in San Francisco, who worked with Gloster. “He got out of the hospital on Saturday and assured me he would be at the ballpark on Sunday to cover the Rays-Giants finale.
“Rob was determined to keep doing what he loved and what he had done for his whole life, which was journalism,” McCauley said. “He was thrilled to be around the people he knew so well in the Bay Area.”
A skilled writer who was respected by the teams and people he covered for his fairness, thoughtful questions and professionalism, Gloster was also admired by colleagues for his wit and his enthusiasm to pursue new stories and new ways to report them.
While covering the Giants’ Star Trek-themed game in August, Gloster quipped: “On Star Trek night, the game belonged to The Next Generation.”
In 2002, he chronicled how the Giants and Athletics hosted playoff games on the same day , using the unconventional dateline, ACROSS THE BAY BRIDGE, Calif. When the Giants reached the World Series, Gloster rode a boat in the bay beyond the right field wall to learn the ways of the ballhawks who pursue home runs that splash into the water. The dateline for that one: ON MCCOVEY COVE, Calif.
While stationed in Boston from 1992-94, he made a point to cover all four professional teams in the same day, including a Bruins-Celtics doubleheader at the old Garden. And it was while working in London in 1991 that he went to staff a Rugby World Cup match in Gloucester, England, because the dateline and his byline were pronounced the same way.
Former AP European Sports Editor Steve Wilson said he received an email from Gloster in January 2018 updating him on a change in jobs.
“Near the bottom of the email, Rob casually dropped in that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2016 and been given a year to live,” Wilson said. “I wrote back, saying he had ‘buried the lead.’
“He replied: ‘Yeah, I purposely buried the cancer stuff. If I had said that first, the rest of the message would have been a blur. And I try not to make it the most important thing in my life, so I’m glad to relegate it to below-the-fold status,’” Wilson recalled. “That is the selfless spirit and attitude for which I’ll always remember Rob.”
Gloster was also an avid cellist who continued to perform with passion even during his 2 ½-year illness. He had just traveled to New York to visit his mother and help her through her tax return despite the effects of a potent chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Although baseball was his favorite sport, Gloster also wrote about the Golden State Warriors last month and attended his final basketball game March 31 as the two-time defending NBA champions clinched a fifth straight division title. The Warriors mentioned his passing with a tribute on their broadcast from New Orleans on Tuesday night.
Gloster worked for United Press International before joining the AP in early 1989 in London and was the advance person for the company’s coverage of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. He transferred to Boston soon after the games and then to San Francisco two years later. In June 2004, he moved to the company’s New York headquarters.
After leaving the AP staff, Gloster worked for Agence France-Presse covering politics, and Bloomberg News. In addition to his recent freelance work for the AP, he wrote for The Jewish News of Northern California, which published his story on April 5.
Gloster is survived by his wife, Sharon, and two daughters, Talia and Daniela. A funeral is planned for Friday in Colma, California, outside San Francisco.
AP Sports Writers Ben Walker and Josh Dubow contributed to this story.