Fer­nan­dez re­mem­bered as larger than life at fu­neral

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Steve Wine

Mi­ami Mar­lins ace Jose Fer­nan­dez was re­mem­bered Thurs­day as a larger than life fig­ure dur­ing a homily at his fu­neral.

“Jose was too good for this league,” the Rev. Jose Al­varez said. “He’s a go­ing to a higher league.”

Fer­nan­dez, a 24-yearold, two-time All-Star, died early Sun­day along with two friends in a boat­ing accident off Mi­ami Beach.

His fu­neral service lasted more than two hours. Those in at­ten­dance in­cluded Ma­jor League Base­ball com­mis­sioner Rob Man­fred, cur­rent and for­mer Mar­lins play­ers and two hallof-famers, Mar­lins ex­ec­u­tives Tony Perez and An­dre Daw­son.

The pri­vate service drew about 300 mourn­ers, who nearly filled the large sanc­tu­ary at St. Bren­dan Catholic Church in Mi­ami.

Pall­bear­ers wore black Fer­nan­dez jer­seys as they car­ried his cas­ket.

While Thurs­day’s fu­neral was pri­vate, fans got to say their good­byes a day ear­lier.

Mar­lins owner Jef­frey Lo­ria, man­ager Don Mat­tingly, hit­ting coach Barry Bonds and the play­ers in­clud­ing Mar­cel Ozuna and Gian­carlo Stan­ton wore white T-shirts em­bla­zoned with Fer­nan­dez’s im­age and the let­ters “RIP” as they slowly walked the hearse away from Mar­lins Park in Mi­ami’s Lit­tle Ha­vana neigh­bor­hood on Wed­nes­day. Many in the crowd of about 1,000 chanted “Jose! Jose!” and some waved Cuban flags in honor of the pop­u­lar Cuban-Amer­i­can player.

Hun­dreds of fans streamed into St. Bren­dan later Wed­nes­day for a pub­lic view­ing, which was sched­uled to last into the night. Many said they felt com­pelled to come not only be­cause of Fer­nan­dez’s pop­u­lar­ity as a player but also be­cause he was a hero to many in the CubanAmer­i­can com­mu­nity.

Fer­nan­dez was killed when the boat he owned slammed at high speed into a rock jetty early Sun­day just off South Beach, investigators say. The cause of the crash is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Com­mis­sion. In ad­di­tion to Fer­nan­dez, Emilio Je­sus Ma­cias, 27, and Ed­uardo Rivero, 25, also died in the crash.

Fer­nan­dez was an emerg­ing base­ball star known for his ex­u­ber­ant per­son­al­ity and style of play. He was Na­tional League Rookie of the Year in 2013 and set a sin­gle-sea­son Mar­lins strike­out record this year with 253.

On Thurs­day, of­fi­cials in Tampa said that a jersey worn by Fer­nan­dez in high school was miss­ing fol­low­ing a can­dle­light vigil at his for­mer high school. Of­fi­cials at Alonso High School filed a police re­port and au­thor­i­ties are ask­ing who­ever took the jersey to re­turn it.


Pall­bear­ers wear a No. 16 jersey in honor of Mi­ami Mar­lins pitcher Jose Fer­nan­dez as they carry his cas­ket for a memorial service at St. Bren­dan’s Catholic Church, Thurs­day in Mi­ami. Fer­nan­dez was killed in a boat­ing accident Sun­day along with two friends.

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