In the Miami Marlins’ first game since star pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a weekend boating accident, the second baseman Dee Gordon ventured up to the plate wearing his fallen partner’s shirt and pulverized a lead-off home run ― his first of the season.
Tears spilled down Gordon’s face as he rounded the bases. As he crossed home plate, Gordon motioned to the sky before coming back to the dugout, where his partners ― every wearing Fernandez’s now-retired No. 16 jersey ― came to solace him.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 26, 2016
The emotional scene inside Marlins Park couldn’t have been scripted all the more flawlessly.
In a tribute to his teammate, Gordon, a lefty hitter, ventured to the plate batting right and wearing Fernandez’s batting helmet. After taking the first pitch, Gordon swapped the helmet for his own and changed to left-handed batters’ box. With a 2-0 tally, Gordon homered to right field to give the Marlins the mid 1-0 lead.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) September 26, 2016
“Unbelievable,” a game host said after Gordon’s at-bat. “Just unbelievable ― his eyes wet with emotion as he rounded the bases, his first home run of the season.”
Fernandez, 24, and two others were killed in a boating accident early Sunday in south Florida. In an announcement affirming Fernandez’s death, the Marlins reported the team had canceled Sunday’s home diversion against the Atlanta Braves.
“Sadly, the brightest lights are often the ones that extinguish the fastest,” Marlins owner Jeffrey H. Loria said in a statement. “José left us far too soon, but his memory will endure in all of us.”
Monday’s game against the New York Mets was the Marlins first since Fernandez’s death. After four innings, the Marlins drove the Mets 7-0.