Miami Marlins players have gathered at the team’s ballpark to grieve together following the death of teammate Jose Fernandez.
The 24-year-old pitcher and two of his friends were killed when their boat smashed into a jetty off Miami Beach early today. Authorities say the 32-foot boat was demolished when it hit the rocks at full speed.
Marlins president David Samson told reporters, “A lot of words were said, meaningful words and emotion and prayer.” At a news conference, Manager Don Mattingly and president of baseball operations Michael Hill flanked Samson and fought back tears.
Hall of Famer Tony Perez, a Marlins executive and fellow native of Cuba,” said “all I can do is scream in disbelief,” adding that he feels as if he lost a son.
Fernandez escaped from Cuba by boat on his fourth try as a teenager, and when his mother fell into the Yucatan Channel during the journey, he jumped in and pulled her out.
Fernandez and two other people died when their 32-foot vessel slammed into a jetty off Miami Beach, authorities said.
CBS Miami reported the other two in the boat with the 24-year-old Fernandez ranged in age from 24 to 27.
Authorities didn’t know the time of the crash. The capsized boat was found shortly after 3 a.m.
Major League Baseball released a statement saying it was “stunned and devastated.”
“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,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he touched in his life.”
The Marlins’ game Sunday at home against the Atlanta Braves was canceled. The Braves, along with several other teams, quickly offered condolences.
“Hands down one of my favorite guys to watch pitch! He brought nothing but intensity and passion,” Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price tweeted.