Major League Baseball reacts to death of one of game’s brightest stars

Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez was tragically killed in a boating accident

Jose Fernandez has died age 24, with media reports saying he was killed in a boating accident on Miami Beach. Photograph: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Jose Fernandez has died age 24, with media reports saying he was killed in a boating accident on Miami Beach. Photograph: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

 

Major League Baseball began mourning the loss of one of the game’s brightest young stars, Miami Marlins All-Star Jose Fernandez.

Fernandez, 24, was killed in a boating accident near Miami Beach early Sunday. The Marlins canceled their scheduled game against the Atlanta Braves.

Fernandez was one of three men killed when the 32-foot boat collided with a rocky jetty, the Coast Guard said. The identities of the two other crash victims were not released.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Lorenzo Veloz said at a news conference. The agency is investigating the cause of the incident.

The speed at which the boat was traveling was believed to have played a role in the crash, but alcohol and drugs were not considered to be a factor, Veloz said.

Fernandez, who was born and raised in Cuba, unsuccessfully attempted to defect to the United States three times before arriving in the country at age 15.

He was jailed before finally reaching the US and attending high school in Tampa, Fla. He was drafted in 2011 and voted National League Rookie of the Year in 2013.

New York Mets manager Terry Collins refused baseball questions Sunday morning in his pregame press conference, saying he would only talk about Fernandez, whose infections spirit made him popular with fans and peers alike.

“This one hits you in the stomach,” said Collins, who remembers when Fernandez made his major league debut in 2013 at Citi Field, allowing one earned run in five innings.

“When the first pitch left his hand, the first thought was ‘Oh, wow, this is something special,’” Collins said. “I was telling the guys this morning, he was here for the All-Star game when the game was here in Citi Field, and he treated our staff in our kitchen with tremendous respect and he was only 20 or 21 years old at the time. Very, very polite.”

An outpouring of condolences came in from around the league:

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi: “It’s sad, a very sad day. You think about all the people’s lives that this affects and how difficult it must be down there right now. It must be awful. I don’t know how you ever get over it. It affects the whole community, families. It’s going to affect people who didn’t even know him, just because of his ability to pull the community together and what he had been through in his life and how important he was down there.”

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox: “It’s a tragedy for baseball. Jose was a star on the field but was an even better person. Rest in peace, my friend.”

Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias, who is from Havana, Cuba, was removed from the lineup Sunday after learning of Fernandez’s death.

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