Jose Fernandez dies in boating accident
Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Florida early Sunday morning.
Spokesman Lorenzo Veloz of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a news conference Sunday that Fernandez, 24, was one of three males killed in the accident.
The Coast Guard arrived to the scene at around 3 a.m. to find a 32-foot boat upside down on a jetty off Miami Beach. Two of the victims were found dead under the vessel. One was found dead in the water. None of the deceased were wearing life vests.
Speed is suspected to be a factor in the accident because of the impact with the jetty, Veloz said. There was no evidence of alcohol or illegal drug use.
The Marlins announced that Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braveshas been canceled.
“The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time,” the team said in a statement.
The Tampa Bay Rays announced they were canceling a scheduled pregame ceremony to recognize retiring Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, per his wishes, after Sunday’s tragedy.
The Miami Dolphins plan to hold a moment of silence for Fernandez before their game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, a team official told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Fernandez had announced on Instagram last week that his girlfriend is pregnant.
“All of Baseball is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández,” Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “He was one of our game’s great young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field since his debut in 2013. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he touched in his life.”
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark also released a statement Sunday morning: “We are devastated by the news that Jose Fernandez has tragically passed. Jose was a remarkable young man and a tremendously gifted athlete, who at just 24, established himself as one of the game’s biggest and brightest stars. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jose’s family, friends, teammates, Miami Marlins organization and legions of fans in the United States and Latin America.”
Fernandez’s next start had been pushed back from Sunday to Monday to make room for Adam Conley‘s return from the disabled list.
Fernandez emigrated to the United States from Cuba in 2008 after three failed defection attempts, settling in Tampa, Florida. He became a United States citizen last year. He was a 2011 first-round pick, taken 14th overall by the Marlins, out of Tampa’s Alonso High School.
He was 16-8 with a 2.86 ERA this season, earning his second appearance in the All-Star Game. Fernandez, who was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 2013, was 38-17 with a 2.58 ERA in 76 career starts for the Marlins.
Fernandez joins a long list of active baseball players to die in accidents. Cleveland Indians pitchers Tim Crews, 31 and Steve Olin, 27, were killed in a boating accident in Clermont, Florida, on March 22, 1993. Indians pitcher Bobby Ojeda was also on the boat and lost four pints of blood, but survived.
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ESPN’s James Walker and The Associated Press contributed to this report.