The Marlins are setting up tributes to fallen pitcher Jose Fernandez and legendary broadcaster Felo Ramirez outside Marlins Park.
A team spokesman told the Miami Herald that a commemorative plaque, 1 1/2 feet wide by 2 1/2 feet tall, for Fernandez and another for Ramirez will be placed on each side of the column facing the West Plaza of the stadium.
The plaques will replace the signature sign that fans had been using to write their thoughts about Fernandez because the Marlins said it had succumbed to wear and tear over the past 18 months.
The Marlins expect the plaques to be ready by Friday morning.
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Fernandez, who was killed at age 24 on Sept. 25, 2016, in a boating accident that claimed his life and those of two other individuals, Emilio Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, captured the hearts of the local community not only on the mound, but with his vibrant personality and the story of his difficult journey to freedom after escaping Cuba with his family.
Ramirez, the beloved Spanish-language radio voice of the Marlins since their inaugural season, died last August at age 94. Ramirez had been hospitalized for two months in Delaware after he fell and struck his head while getting off the team bus on April 26 during a road trip to Philadelphia.
“The Marlins have been fortunate to have had some truly talented individuals within our organization through the years,” Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said in a statement.
“Jose, on the field, and Felo, in the booth, each left a lasting legacy in Little Havana and throughout baseball. We wanted to commemorate them with plaques on the West Plaza for our fans and family members. Their memories will live on in our hearts and in our community.”
Fernandez’s plaque will have his No. 16 with a ribbon in the same design as the poster that thousands of fans flocked to at the park to sign in the days and weeks following his death.
Fernandez’s mother, Maritza Gomez Fernandez, visited Marlins Park on Wednesday and got a look at the plaque for her son, according to a team spokesman.
Jeter was with her as she also visited the Marlins’ clubhouse and took home all of Jose’s athletic gear that included some of his jerseys, cleats and gloves that had been stored in the locker that the Marlins kept encased in glass during the 2017 season.
Fernandez was the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 2013 and a two-time All-Star in his four seasons pitching for the Marlins.
Ramirez, who began a seven-decade broadcasting career in Cuba calling baseball games and boxing matches in 1945, is a Ford C. Frick Award winner and a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer.
Ramirez called 32 World Series and 40 Caribbean World Series and the Marlins’ first five no-hitters and both of its World Series titles in 1997 and 2003.
Ramirez’s plaque will face the street adjacent to the park that is named in his honor.