Baseball Community Remembers the Late All-Star Shortstop Tony Fernandez

Tony Fernandez, a professional baseball shortstop best known for his tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays, died at the age of 57. He reportedly was battling kidney disease and had a stroke.

The Blue Jays announced Fernandez's death on Sunday and paid tribute to him via Twitter:

"Tony left an equally indelible mark in the hearts of a generation of Blue Jays fans during his 12 unforgettable seasons with the team. His impact on the baseball community in Toronto and across Canada is immeasurable."

Originally from San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, Fernandez was a five-time All-Star and played for several other teams in addition to the Blue Jays -- including the San Diego Padres, the New York Mets, the New York Yankees, the Cleveland Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers.

According to Baseball Reference, Fernandez's career stats included a batting average of .288 along with 2,276 hits, 94 home runs, and 844 runs batted in. He was a member of the 1993 Blue Jays team that won the World Series.

Former players and his peers went on social media to mourn the player's death and express fond memories of him.

David "Boomer" Wells, who pitched for the Blue Jays and one of Fernandez's teammates and friends, also tweeted to mourn his death.

"I'm so sorry to hear about Tony Fernandez passing," Wells wrote. A great teammate and friend. A pitchers dream to have him at shortstop when your [sic] pitching. One of the best ever. R.I.P. my friend."

Ex-pitcher Todd Stottlemyre also remembered Fernandez: "My heart is so heavy at the loss of former teammate, friend, and Champion Tony Fernandez. My prayers go out to his wife and their entire family. I will never forget this man. He influenced my life in a positive way. He made everyone around him better. RIP my brother."

Dan Plesac, who also played for the Blue Jays and is now an analyst for the MLB Network, called Fernandez a "...kind, gentle giant of a man. Soft spoken and a true professional. Thoughts & prayers to his family and friends."

Sports broadcaster Hazel Mae shared a short video in which former Blue Jays manager Buck Martinez spoke about his memories of Fernandez. Laughing, he said that the shortstop had once joked that pop star Michael Jackson and former Blue Jays left fielder George Bell had a good deal in common because they "both wore a glove for no obvious reason."

"But that was Tony's sense of humor, and I think that's the thing that we knew and loved about him that a lot of people didn't know," Martinez said.

"Tony will be remembered as a kind man who was enjoyable to work with," tweeted the official account of the Cleveland Indians, another team that Fernandez played for.

Some users wrote about their fond memories of watching Fernandez in the field when they were younger—including how sleek his style of play was.

"RIP Tony Fernandez," sportswriter Sean McIndoe tweeted. "One of my very first favorite players I remember having as a little kid. I insisted on doing his looping sidearm throw on every ground ball, whether it needed it or not. Never did make it look as good as he could."

"RIP Tony Fernandez, one of my favourite Jays ever. Loved how effortless he made hard grounders look and those slap singles," Jeff Marek, a radio host, tweeted. "Man, he was great."

"Tony Fernandez was so smooth, so cool," Bruce Arthur, a sports columnist for the Toronto Star, wrote. "One of those guys you remember watching your whole life. Rest in peace."

"One of the greatest homegrown Blue Jays is gone," wrote Steve Simmons, a sports journalist with the Toronto Sun. "Tony Fernandez has passed away at the age of 57. Condolences to his family, his fans, his former teammates."

"Tony Fernandez is one of the most important players in Blue Jays history," wrote sports talk show host Sid Seixeiro. "Best shortstop they ever had. Without Tony there wouldn't have been a Roberto Alomar trade. He returned in 1993 and drove in 9 runs against Philly in the World Series. God Bless Tony Fernandez."

Ben Nicholson-Smith, a writer for Sportsnet, wrote that Fernandez was "a fixture on Toronto's first ever playoff teams."

Tony Fernandez
DETROIT, UNITED STATES: Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Tony Fernandez throws out Detroit Tigers Juan Encarnacion during the third inning in Detroit on 24 May 1999. JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images/Getty
Baseball Community Remembers the Late All-Star Shortstop Tony Fernandez | Sports