MIAMI (AP) — Clayton Kershaw stood in the National League clubhouse before Tuesday’s All-Star Game across from Jose Fernandez’s locker, which serves as memorial to the Miami Marlins’ dynamic right-hander.
“It’s sad for sure to see that,” said Kershaw, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace. “Obviously he meant a lot to everybody, because his locker is still here. You reflect for sure.”
Fernandez was a two-time All-Star before he died at 24 in a boat crash last September. Among his unfulfilled goals was to start in Tuesday’s game at his home ballpark.
It would have happened if not for the accident, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said.
“His last five starts would probably have been one-hitters, so he would have forced the issue,” Loria said. “He is on my mind every day, every single day. It’s something that doesn’t disappear for me, unfortunately. No doubt he would have been an All-Star. He would have found a way to be the starter.”
Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton agreed.
“His No. 1 thing to that point, besides winning Cy Young, was to start this game,” Stanton said.
In tribute to Fernandez, NL All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper wore colorful shoes bearing the pitcher’s image and uniform number 16.
Fernandez was the probable operator of the speeding boat that crashed into a jetty last Sept. 25, killing him and two other men, an investigation determined. It listed drugs and alcohol as factors in the crash.