Barry Jackson

MLB players, announcers react to the death of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez

Miami Marlins' Jose Fernandez watches the game from the dugout as the Cardinals leads at the end of the fifth inning of the Miami Marlins vs St Louis Cardinals, game at Marlins Park in Little Havana in Miami on Thurs., July 28, 2016.
Miami Marlins' Jose Fernandez watches the game from the dugout as the Cardinals leads at the end of the fifth inning of the Miami Marlins vs St Louis Cardinals, game at Marlins Park in Little Havana in Miami on Thurs., July 28, 2016. pportal@miamiherald.com

Some reaction around baseball --- from ESPN analysts and Twitter accounts of players and others --- on the Sunday morning death of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez from a boating accident:

• Former Marlins pitcher Dan Haren: “Jose Fernandez is one of the most genuine guys I've ever played with. He loved life, he loved baseball.....he will be missed dearly.”

• ESPN’s Buster Olney: “I’ve never met anyone who extracted more joy, more passion out of what he did than Jose Fernandez. I remember talking to him when he first came to the United States going to high school in Tampa area about trying to learn English and what a challenge that was.

“This year, when we had that [July 3] game at Fort Bragg, when the Braves played the Marlins, as the National Anthem was being played, Jose had camera. He came up to me and said Papi, look at this video. I said, Could you send it to me?’ He said ‘I don’t know how to do e-mail. Here Papi, you do it.’ He gave me his camera.

A boat in which José Fernandez was traveling early Sunday morning struck a jetty at the mouth of Government Cut full speed and flipped, killing him and two friends.

“He had such a great personality and loved everything he experienced in the United States. Within baseball circles, he was viewed as one of pre-eminent pitchers early in his career.

“Once he returned from Tommy John surgery, he was rediscovering his greatness. He seemed to be one of his players who would lift his teammates with his emotion and joy when he was on the mound…. It’s something [the Marlins] will never get over.”

• MLB writer Peter Gammons: “A third of the way through writing why Jose Fernandez is the best pitcher in the game in 2016, I got the news...God bless his grandmother.”

• Marlins TV and ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez, on ESPN this morning: “The hardest part was telling my dad [Marlins advisor and Hall of Famer Tony Perez]. It’s like losing a grandson. When I told him, he started yelling. He had no fear. When Jose’s mother fell off the boat, he didn’t know who it was. He jumped. That’s who Jose was.

“I don’t have to explain to the Latinos. He meant so much to the organization, to the city, to the Cuban community. He comes in full of life. When he did things, he didn’t do it halfway. He knew the dangers of bicycling so he stopped.

“The kid, the enthusiasm, the love for the game, he never tried to show anybody up. He risked his life, he did it multiple times. To see how good he was on the field and how great he could have been. The impact he would have had even after the game…. He was a player who found a way to get people in the stands in Miami. He’s going to be greatly missed.”

FWC Officer Lorenzo Veloz gives details on the tragic boating accident that killed Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez at 24 on Sun., Sept. 25, 2016.

How will he be remembered? “Pura vida. Pure Life. Que desanse en paz.”

• ESPN’s Pedro Gomez: “He lit up a ballpark when he was pitching but he also lit up a ballpark when he wasn’t pitching. I knew Jose somewhat. I just spoke to him last week about doing a feature where we were going to drive around Miami [this offseason]. Having grown up in Miami and still having a lot of roots in Miami, this is devastating. They called it Jose day when he pitched.”

• Cubs pitcher Jon Lester: “I tend to stay off of Twitter on start days but I cannot believe the news about Jose Fernandez. The game and the world just lost a great one.”

• Tampa Bay catcher JP Arencibia: “Heart of gold. Was an honor to step in the box against you. RIP Jose Fernandez. That smile will be missed.”

• Former Marlins star and MLB analyst Dontrelle Willis: “My heart is broken.”

• Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer: “Absolutely crushed hearing the news about Jose. Brought so much energy and passion towards life! You will be missed Papo RIP.”

• Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price: “wow very sad new this morning...hands down one of my favorite guys to watch pitch! He brought nothing but intensity and passion #ripjose.”

• Former Marlins left hander Craig Breslow: “Today baseball lost one of its brightest young stars, but humankind lost one of its most vibrant members. RIP Jose Fernandez.”

• Former Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano: “I am so sick right now as I wake up to hear this terrible news. Jose you will be missed by so many and I will never forget you as a teammate.”

• ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian: “This was appointment viewing for everyone in Miami. It’s inconceivable this could happen.”

• ESPN analyst and former GM Jim Bowden: “Jose Fernandez love,respect, impact for the game, positive attitude, passion, high energy and enthusiasm could not be matched. May he RIP.”

• Broadcaster Keith Olbermann: “That Jose Fernandez should have escaped from Cuba, saved his drowning mother, flourished here, only to meet this end, breaks the heart.”

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