Marlins Star Jose Fernandez Killed in Boat Crash Days After Announcing Girlfriend's Pregnancy
Miami Marlins’ star pitcher Jose Fernandez was tragically killed in a boat crash early Sunday morning, police said.
The 24-year-old was one of three men who were not wearing life vests and were killed in the accident, according to police. Two of the men were found in the 32-foot boat and one in the water around 3:30 a.m, the Miami-Dade County Sheriff Lorenzo Velos said at a press conference.
Authorities found the boat upside down after reportedly crashing into rocks.
Police said the other victims appeared to be friends of the pitcher in their 20s but were not teammates. Velos added that Fernandez was not driving the boat and does not own it, but the boat's owner has been stopped before for safety violations.
Police said it doesn’t seem alcohol or drugs were a factor, but the Coast Guard said the boat had a "severe impact" and speed appeared to be a factor in the crash.
The team released a statement on Twitter about the loss.
“The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez,” they wrote. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”
The death comes just days after Fernandez posted a picture to Instagram last week of his girlfriend, Carla Mendoza, announcing her pregnancy.
“I am so glad you came into my life. I’m ready for where this journey is gonna take us,” he wrote.
The Marlins game scheduled for Sunday against the Atlanta Braves was cancelled.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred released a statement about Fernandez’s death, calling him one of the game’s great young stars and acknowledging his impact on and off the field.
“All of baseball is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing,” Manfred said
Marlins manager Don Mattingly cried in a press conference as he recalled the passion Fernandez had when he took the field.
"There was just joy with him when he played," Mattingly said.
Players expressed their condolences as well.
"I'm still waiting to wake up from this nightmare. I lost my brother today and can't quite comprehend it," Marlins player Giancarlo Stanton wrote on instagram. "He had his own level, one that was changing the game. EXTRAORDINARY, as a person before the player."
Praying for the family, friends and teammates of Jose Fernandez.. Today is a sad day for baseball.. He will be missed by us all..— Matt Carpenter (@MattCarp13) September 25, 2016
Fellow Cuban and New York Mets player Yoenis Cespedes hung a Mets jersey bearing Fernandez's name and number in the dugout prior to the Mets' game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Fernandez was drafted in the first round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Marlins and received a $2 million signing bonus.
Fernandez, who is from Cuba, won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2013. He had a career earned-run average of just 2.58 over four seasons. He led baseball this season in strikeouts per nine innings with 12.49 among starting pitchers.