Broken dreams. Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández had already picked out a name for his baby girl after learning the sex of his unborn child in early August: Penelope.
This was just one of the poignant memories shared by friends and family of the 24-year-old at his funeral in Miami on Thursday, September 29.
Just one day after thousands of mourners gathered at sites across Miami to say farewell at a public memorial to the athlete, who died in a boating accident on Sunday, September 25, his family, friends and teammates attended a televised two-hour service at St. Brendan Catholic Church on Thursday afternoon.
There were tears as the Cuba-born MLB star was remembered by his agent, Scott Boras, who found it hard to keep his composure as he talked about the three moments Fernández was most proud of: buying a house for his mom Maritza, becoming a U.S. citizen and learning that he was going to become a dad to a daughter he and girlfriend Maria Arias planned to name Penelope.
"He wanted to know, 'Am I going to be a good father?' And I told him, 'You're going to be a great father because you're going to treat your child in the same way that your mother treated you, and you'll know exactly what to do,'" Boras told the mourners. "The next day he ordered a baseball glove, all those colors he loved, and he put 'Penelope' for his unborn daughter [on it]."
Fernández's pregnant girlfriend, Arias, openly wept after hearing the story.
"He set the standard for making baseball fun," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said, according to the Miami Herald. "He was a superstar human being. A year ago he tweeted — and you can look it up — he tweeted, 'If you were given a book with the story of your life, would you read the end?' I prefer not to think of this as the end of his life, but the beginning of his legend."
As Us Weekly previously reported, Fernández and two friends died in the early hours of Sunday morning when his boat crashed into a jetty near Miami Beach. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
In one of his last Instagram posts, the father-to-be shared a black-and-white pic of his pregnant girlfriend, writing, "I'm so glad you came into my life. I'm ready for where this journey is gonna take us together. #familyfirst."
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