Baseball fans mourn death of Jose Fernandez in boat crash

The baseball world is in mourning after Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident along with two other men.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Fans at Wrigley Field stand for a moment of silence Sunday night in honor of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident at age 24.

Miami Marlins star Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident early on Sunday in Florida, the US Coast Guard said. He was 24 years of age.

Fernandez was one of the most prominent pitchers in Major League Baseball and was considered a hero to Miami’s Cuban community.

He was born and raised in Cuba before trying three times to defect to the United States in hope of beginning a new life.

He finally reached the country when he was 15 with his mother after surviving harrowing conditions at sea.

He was killed along with two others when the 32-foot boat he was in collided with a rocky jetty off Miami Beach, the Coast Guard said. 

The bodies of Fernandez and the two other men, aged 24 and 27, were found on and underneath the boat, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Lorenzo Veloz said at a news conference.

Investigators look over the overturned boat on a jetty in which Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in Miami Beach, Florida, US September 25, 2016. (SunSentinel/Joe Cavaretta via Reuters)

The agency is investigating the cause of the accident.

The identities of the two other victims were not released.

It is thought that the speed at which the boat was travelling played a role in the crash. Alcohol and drugs were ruled out as being a factor, Veloz said.

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

In honour of Fernandez, many wore his No. 16 jersey and brought flowers, teddy bears and pictures of the All Star pitcher.

Cuba’s state-controlled media didn’t mention Fernandez’s death on Sunday, which is its standard procedure for those who leave the island-nation secretly, even though its communist government reestablished diplomatic ties with the United States last year.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) throws against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL, USA. (David Banks-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo via Reuters)

The right-hander, who made his major league debut in April 2013, was a two-time All-Star selection and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Fernandez, with his talent, good looks and charisma on the field, was in many ways seen as a hero to Miami’s growing Cuban community.

TRTWorld and agencies