This one’s for you, José Fernández. Miami Marlins player Dee Gordon broke down in tears after hitting a home run in the first inning of the team’s home game against the New York Mets on Monday, September 26, just minutes after paying tribute to his late teammate.
The left-handed-hitting Gordon, 28, took the first pitch from the right side in honor of Fernández. On the third pitch, he nearly hit it out of the park for his first home run of the season. After he ran the bases, there wasn’t a dry eye in the dugout. In an emotional moment, Gordon hugged several of his teammates before the whole bunch gathered around him to pat him on the back.
“I ain’t never hit a ball that far, even in BP,” Gordon told USA Today. “I told the boys, ‘If you all don’t believe in God, you better start.’ For that to happen today, we had some help. … I tried to impersonate [Fernández’s] batting stance as best as possible. I just hope he’s happy. I hope he’s good because we love him so much.”
During a touching pregame tribute, the entire Marlins team took the field wearing Fernández’s No. 16 jersey, most sobbing throughout the national anthem. They then gathered around the pitching mound to draw his number in the dirt. The Marlins and Mets even came together and all hugged one another.
After the game, which the Marlins won 7–3, the Miami players kneeled around the mound and left their baseball caps in remembrance of their late friend. This was the first game since Fernández’s death, because Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves was canceled.
As previously reported, Fernández was found dead at age 24 after a boating accident in the early hours of Sunday, September 25. The vessel had a “severe impact” with a jetty and was likely traveling at “full speed," the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said. The Santa Clara, Cuba, native was one of three people killed in the tragic incident.
Just days before his passing, the superstar pitcher seemed to announce his girlfriend is pregnant and expecting the couple’s first child. He shared an Instagram of his love cradling her baby bump on the beach, captioning it, “I’m so glad you came into my life. I’m ready for where this journey is gonna take us together. #family first.”
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