Tributes Pour In After Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, Dies In Boating Accident
Tributes Pour In After Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez’S DEATH
Puig said he was one of the first to learn of the death of Fernandez, the Miami Marlins right-handed pitcher who died in a boating accident early Sunday morning at the age of 24.
“He was a very good guy and I also liked the way he played baseball, the way he treated his mom and his grandma, his teammates and other ballplayers like myself,’’ said Puig, standing in front of his locker at Dodger Stadium approximately two hours before a game against the Colorado Rockies. “That was the best part of him. That’s what I liked the most about him.’’
The Marlins star and two other men were found dead after their boat was discovered at the entrance of Miami Harbor, said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Lorenzo Veloz. Coast Guard personnel on patrol noticed the boat laying upside down on the north end of a rocky jetty shortly after 3:15 am, Veloz stated at a news conference.
Several of Sunday’s Major League Baseball games began with a moment of silence to honor Fernandez. In addition, dozens of quickly-prepared tributes arose across the country, with Puig and another Cuban outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets, taping makeshift Fernandez jerseys in their respective dugouts.
— Devan Fink (@DevanFink) September 25, 2016
The weeping Puig talked about his friendship with Fernandez. The 25-year-old said the two became friends in 2013 when they were competing for the National League Rookie-of-the-Year award that Fernandez ultimately won.
“We would joke around a lot,’’ he said. “We had a lot of fun. Sometimes he would throw balls and I would tell him to throw strikes. And I think next time we face Miami and play baseball and he’s not there I’m really going to miss him.’
Fernandez left Cuba for the US at 15, and inspired scores of other MLB players during his time as a player. Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers met Fernandez shortly after Fernandez’s family arrived from Cuba, and moved to Tampa. The pitchers were both top prospects in the Tampa area; McCullers posted a photo to his Twitter account of the two of them as younger men, gripping an ax, perhaps after toppling a tree.
“It’s awful that he’s gone,” said McCullers, according to the Houston Chronicle, “but he lived every day he had to the fullest. I believe that.”
— Lance McCullers Jr. (@LMcCullers43) September 25, 2016