Baseball world mourns boating death of Miami Marlins star Fernandez

Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:16am EDT
 
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By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - Miami Marlins star Jose Fernandez, one of the most dominant pitchers in Major League Baseball and a hero to Miami's Cuban community, was killed in a boating crash early on Sunday in Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard said. He was 24 years old.

Fernandez, who as a teenager survived harrowing conditions at sea as he fled Cuba to start a new life in the United States, was one of three men killed when a 32-foot boat collided with a rocky jetty off Miami Beach, the Coast Guard said.

The team, which drafted the pitcher in the first round of the 2011 draft, canceled its Sunday home game against the Atlanta Braves but dozens of mourners still gathered at a makeshift memorial set up for Fernandez near the entrance to Marlins Park.

Many wore his No. 16 jersey and brought flowers, teddy bears and pictures of themselves with the All Star pitcher.

""He was one of our game's young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field," Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

Emergency crews responded to reports of a boat overturned on a jetty near the Government Cut shipping channel and South Pointe Park at about 3:30 a.m. (0730 GMT), the Coast Guard said.

Fernandez, who was born and raised in Cuba, tried three times to defect to the United States before arriving in the country at age 15 with his mother.

Cuba's state-controlled media made no mention of Fernandez's death on Sunday, a standard practice for those who left the island-nation surreptitiously, even though its communist government restored diplomatic relations with the United States last year.   Continued...

 
Sep 25, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA;  A moment of silence for Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez who passed away from a boating accident this morning, prior to a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports