Joe Gonzales was born in San Francisco on March 19, 1915. He graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles, first playing baseball in his sophomore year there. He played shortstop and the outfield, and relieved in two games for the Roosevelt Roughriders that year, but by his junior year he became the ace of the pitching staff and also lettered in track and basketball.

Joe became a star for the University of Southern California, where he was undefeated on the mound in his final two years, including an 8-0 no-hitter against Stanford.  In his sophomore year, he lost two games and in all, suffered only three losses in four seasons of college baseball. In 1935, he was selected as one of 18 college, high school, and sandlot players to tour Japan for a series of games representing an all-American team for the American Baseball Congress.

He signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1937, who placed him with the San Diego Padres for a few weeks, sharing space with young Ted Williams. The Red Sox developed a shortage of relief pitchers and Joe was given a call-up in August. He appeared in eight games and didnít know it at the time, but his major-league career was over. He was 1-2 with a 4.35 ERA. Heíd struck out 11 but had also walked 11.

He pitched for the Red Sox in spring training of 1938, but was optioned to Little Rock of the Southern Association near the end of March and considered quitting baseball. He was dealt to Cleveland in August and pitched 65 innings with the American Association affiliate Milwaukee Brewers.

Joe spent most of 1939 in the Pacific Coast League with the San Diego Padres. At the end of the year, Gonzales was sent to the San Francisco Seals in a November deal so that the Red Sox could acquire Dom DiMaggio.

Though he was in four games for Minneapolis in 1940, most of 1940 and 1941 was spent with the Portland Beavers. World War II intervened, rather than give up baseball to go off to war, Joe served in the Navy Reserve from 1942 to 1944.

His Coast League play during the war years wasnít first-rate, in any event, and the Stars left him home at one point when they went out on a two-week road trip in mid-July and didnít play at all in 1945.

After the war was over, he pitched two more seasons for Sacramento, though appearing in rather few games. In 1950, he was one of three managers for the Porterville Packers in the Class C Sunset League, and pitched a fairly full season.

In February 1951, Joe was named the baseball coach for Loyola University in Los Angeles, which was in addition to his teaching and coaching assignments at Westchester High School. He taught high school for 30 years and led the Comets into the playoffs for nine years in a row up through 1965, winning the championship in six of them. He also put in 21 years as a field judge in the National Football League.

Joe Gonzales died of a heart attack on November 16, 1996, at age 81, in Torrance, California.