May 16 marks the anniversary once again, of Jose Gomez (Gallito or Joselito) and his death in Talavera de La Reina in 1920.
Coming from a long family of bullfighters, he was not only regarded as the best of his bloodline, but also the bullfight itself.
Masterful in all phases of the bullfight, with capote, banderillas, muleta and sword, he was a torero of both tremendous valor and remarkable ability. A man who could dominate the most difficult of bulls and possessing a seemingly supernatural ability to understand them, propelled him to stardom.
Aside from several authors in his native Spain devoting tons of books to him and his memory, two clearly established American authors, Ernest Hemingway and Barnaby Conrad, praised him in their works.
The odd thing was, Joselito formed a long-lasting rivalry with Juan Belmonte, a torero of opposite style, appearance and capacity. Belmonte wa constantly gored, where Joselito was seldom even in trouble on the sand. The public halfway expected to hear news of Belmonte's death in the ring, when as irony would have it, Joselito was killed.
A brief lapse in judgment with a bull having visual defects, caused Joselito to take a wound in the intestines, which caused his demise.
He is buried in Sevilla's San Fernando cemetery. An elaborate monument marks his resting place.