Tony Fernandez lined the infield like a water skeeter chasing bugs atop a pond. Gangly yet swish, the infielder scuttled after floor balls, which would possibly then be thrown properly with a flick of the wrist. He was a pleasure to watch on the sphere, unless you had been the batter.
The shortstop was liked by the use of lovers, in particular in Toronto, the location he used to be once a keystone participant within the late 1980s and a contributor to a global sequence championship in 1993.
liked Blue Jays shortstop Tony Fernandez dies at 57
Mr. Fernandez, who died on Saturday at 57, was once pronounced to have suffered a stroke. prior this year, he was hospitalized in Florida for issues from kidney illness and positioned in an introduced on coma. He was moreover recognized with pneumonia.
information of his lack of existence brought an outpouring of tributes on Twitter from fanatics and former Toronto Blue Jays teammates.
“He made everyone round him better,” stated the pitcher Todd Stottlemyre. The left-handed David (Boomer) Wells wrote that it used to be as soon as a pitcher’s dream to have Mr. Fernandez at shortstop. Dan Plesac often called him a “sort, delicate massive of an individual.”
A slashing hitter who was also ready to turning in a slap bunt to confound an opposing infield, Mr. Fernandez recorded 5 runs batted-in in a wild, 15-14 victory in recreation 4 of the 1993 World sequence.
He used to be another time regularly celebrated for his fielding prowess, winning 4 consecutive Gold Gloves because the American League’s easiest fielding shortstop. “He makes the impressive fashionable,” teammate Garth Iorg as soon as mentioned. Mr. Fernandez used to be so just right a player that his acquisition by way of the brand new York Yankees in 1995 delayed the ascension of a prime prospect named Derek Jeter.
Mr. Fernandez loved a 17-season major-league profession. He performed throughout the put up-season for 3 totally different groups and gained his handiest World collection championship with the Blue Jays, the crew that initially signed the impoverished teenaged newbie from the Dominican Republic.
Tall and lean at six-foot-two, one hundred sixty 5 kilos, his face scarred from boyhood pimples, Mr. Fernandez combatted stereotypes in all his baseball stops. Some journalists, unwilling to well known he was once being asked to container provocative questions in a 2d language, notion him sullen or diffident.
despite the fact that lacking a formal education, he was once a sensible analyst of what it meant to play professional sports activities activities in a overseas land in a world language the position his ethnicity intended one thing definitely totally different than it did once more at place of dwelling.
“Latin avid gamers had been misunderstood, made out to be moody, opposed, lazy, erratic,” Fernandez mentioned in 1992. “we are an emotional individuals. however we’re devoted and easy, and the issue of the exchange in cultures has simply never ever been totally established and appreciated. in reality all of it still hurts. alternatively now not as a lot because it used to.”
Octavio Antonio Fernandez Castro was born in San Pedro de Macoris, on June 30, 1962, to the previous Andrea Castro and Jose Fernando, a person of Haitian descent who took as his surname Fernandez. the new child’s hairless head used to be so outsized that his father dubbed him El Cabeza (the head), a nickname many years later used for his Twitter deal with of @TonyCabezaFdez. His father supported as good he could a household of 11 youngsters (seven boys, 4 women) as a cane cutter within the sugar fields.
The home lived merely past the appropriate-container fence of Estadio Tetelo Vargas, named for a star of Negro League and Caribbean baseball. the surrounding Barrio Restauracíon was a troublesome district of dust roads with single-story shacks and shanties lined thru tin roofs and missing running water.
Like many of the completely different boys in the neighbourhood, Fernandez spent his free time throughout the park, which was once house to the Estrellas Orientales (japanese Stars). He used to be among the urchins who would climb bushes for a greater unpaid view of a activity, scrambling right down to pursue any ball hit of their route. The boys performed pelota with out a subject was at hand – damaged broom deal with, rolled-up socks lined in tape, the occasional stray baseball. once in a while, his mother requested the boy to skip pickup video games to push the family’s vegetable cart alongside the bumpy, dusty streets, a job for which his older brothers were too ashamed.
The boy moreover scrounged work at the stadium as a bat boy, a groundskeeper and as an all-round labourer, a skinny child who could be pressed into provider loading the crew’s bus. He shagged fly balls and chased floor balls with the fervour of a pup. Early on, he showed comfortable fingers, probably because of he was as soon as too bad to come up with the money for a leather-primarily based glove, as a substitute the use of scraps of cardboard or a flattened milk carton tied to his left hand. He confirmed an adroit experience of the game evident to any discovered eye who noticed him field on the uneven diamonds of the Dominican.
at the similar time, he was once hobbled with the help of a bone chip in his proper knee. The nagging hurt put him on the reject checklist for scouts and hen canine as damaged items. His mom pestered a doctor in the capital who, after additionally being pressured and positive paid with assistance from one persistent scout, operated on the boy’s knee. The domestic used to be so horrific the boy shared a scientific institution mattress with every other lad as he recuperated for six weeks.
Two years later, his legs however now not at full energy, the on the other hand-rising teen – as lean as a stalk of sugar cane at 6-toes, a hundred and forty kilos – boarded a bus to the capital for a tryout in entrance of the scout. Epifanio (Epy) Guerrero had given that opened an academy for potentialities plenty of miles outside Santo Domingo. through then working for the Blue Jays, Guerrero signed the 17-year-previous Fernandez, who had been a scholar at Gaston Fernando de Ligne highschool, on April 24, 1979. very best after the cash for his signing bonus arrived and the boy dumped a tremendous pile of pesos on his mother’s mattress did she definitely take pleasure in baseball was a career and no longer best a interest.
After just about four full seasons throughout the minors, he made his major-league debut with the Blue Jays as a pinch-runner in a recreation in opposition to the Detroit Tigers at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto on Sept. 2, 1983.
Toronto management was once as soon as grooming the rookie as a substitute at brief for Alfredo Griffin, a fellow Dominican and a stellar fielder himself who can be traded to Oakland after the 1984 season.
The seven-year-out of date Blue Jays franchise enjoyed its first successful season in 1983. the brand new shortstop generally is a key figure because the crew contended throughout the remainder of the decade with starters Dave Stieb and Jimmy Key, reliever Tom Henke, catcher Ernie Whitt, and an outfield of Lloyd Moseby, Jesse Barfield and Jorge (George) Bell, but any other excellent Dominican to be imported to Canada from Hispaniola.
The lineup would make the post-season in 1985 (shedding the American League Championship sequence to the Kansas metropolis Royals in seven video games) and 1989 (dropping the ALCS to the Oakland A’s in 5 video games).
In a well-known video clip, the Jays certified for the 1985 playoffs when Mr. Bell caught a activities fly in left container in advance of shedding to his knees together with his palms punching the air in jubilation. he’s then embraced via Mr. Fernandez, who raced out from his shortstop place to enroll in within the occasion.
The infamous Blue Jays’ swoon of 1987, all over the place which they misplaced the ultimate seven video video games of the season to be handed within the standings via the usage of the Tigers, was defined partly via an harm to the shortstop, who suffered a fractured olecranon bone at the tip of the elbow of his throwing arm when bill Madlock of the Tigers knocked him down in a slide at second base in the 0.33 inning of a sport on Sept. 24.
In 1986, Fernandez recorded 213 hits, the main Blue Jay to move the 200-hit marker. That season he performed within the first of 5 career All-well-known particular person video games (4 with Toronto, one with the San Diego Padres) and won his first of the 4 consecutive Gold Gloves.
In 1989, he would commit just six errors in 741 possibilities for a .992 fielding average.
After the 1990 season, right through which he hit a league-highest 17 triples, Fernandez used to be a part of a blockbuster alternate when he was once dispatched with slugging first baseman Fred (Crime canines) McGriff to San Diego for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter.
Mr. Fernandez played two seasons for the Padres previous to being traded to the brand new York Mets. After simply forty eight video games, he was as soon as traded back to the Blue Jays, who by way of the use of then were defending world champions. after they repeated by way of defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in six video games on the planet sequence, the again shortstop banged out eight hits (seven singles and a double) in 24 at-bats. He also knocked in 9 runs inside the sequence.
As a free agent, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds for 1994, faster than changing into a member of the Yankees the following season. He lost sight of the 1996 season as he recovered from a fractured right elbow when diving for a ground ball in spring preparation. He later signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians, returning to the put up-season in 1997. His solo home run in the high of the eleventh inning off Baltimore’s fireball-throwing Armando Benitez, a fellow Dominican, obtained the American League pennant for Cleveland.
The shortstop’s contribution to World sequence lore came on a fielding error – of all concerns – inside the backside of the eleventh inning of game 7. With a runner on first and one out, Craig Counsell of the Florida Marlins hit a possible inning-ending ground ball to Fernandez at 2nd base. as the fielder moved to his left to container the ball, he raised his glove just adequate to graze the three-hopper, which rolled slowly into right kind box. On NBC, the broadcaster Bob Costas shouted: “Fernandez has it go through him!” The runner, Bobby Bonilla, bought to 3rd base, best to later be thrown out on the plate by using Fernandez on a fielder’s risk on Devon White’s grounder. The Marlins went on to win the sector collection on Édgar Rentería’s liner up the heart, which pitcher Charles Nagy almost about snagged.
The uncommon error overshadowed a stellar efficiency on the plate, as he touched Marlins pitchers for eight hits in 17 at-bats.
Fernandez, a free agent, as soon as again again to the Blue Jays for two seasons, so much of it at 0.33 base. The infielder spent the 2000 season in Japan with the Seibu Lions earlier than turning into a member of the Milwaukee Brewers at the beginning of the 2001 season. He was once launched after 28 video games and the Blue Jays in every single place again picked him up and he seen action in forty eight video games quicker than retiring as a participant.
In 17 seasons, the infielder batted .288 with 2,276 hits, including ninety two triples and 94 residing runs. In eleven World assortment video games, he hit .395 with 13 runs batted in.
He holds a number of Blue Jays membership data, at the side of hits (1,583), triples (seventy two), and video games performed (1,450).
Mr. Fernandez used to be brought to the extent of Excellence express on the Rogers Centre in Toronto in 2001. In 2007, he was once inducted into the Pabellón de la Fama de Deporte Dominicana (Dominican sports corridor of popularity) in Santo Domingo. the subsequent 12 months, he used to be named to the Canadian Baseball corridor of fame at St. Marys, Ontario.
over the years, his dedication to a stretching regiment and a willingness to try all approach of exercise gizmo earned him the locker-room nickname of Mr. machine.
As a spiritual Christian, he eschewed the late-night revelry others conception helped a group of workers bond. Raised in a church-going family, Fernandez professed to be born again at a clubhouse chapel supplier at Fenway Park in Boston in 1984. “they consider on account of I take things simple, I don’t care about baseball to any extent further,” he talked about a 12 months after his revelation. “They take it all improper. i am a larger player on account of i’m taking part in now for the glorification of God.” Mr. Fernandez became an ordained Pentecostal minister in 2003.
the earlier player spent three years, from 2012 to 2014, as a unique assistant to Texas Rangers popular supervisor Jon Daniels.
In 2017, he offered he had been hospitalized suffering from polycystic kidney sickness.
He and his spouse Clara, who survives him, operated the Tony Fernandez groundwork, a charitable workforce to assist underprivileged early life in his homeland. The non-income groundwork has places of work in Canada, the us and the Dominican Republic. the inspiration has an bold plan to construct a stadium, faculties, a conference centre, an orphanage, gymnasium, alternate school, teen dorms, hotel and a cafe on a 500-acre spread outside San Pedro.
The couple’s first of 5 youngsters, Joel, was born in 1985. He was once as soon as adopted by the use of Jonathan, Abraham, Andres, and Jasmine. the first two boys and the first daughter received names starting with the letter J in homage to the Jays. A full record of survivors was once unavailable.