Marlins to honor Jose Fernandez, Felo Ramirez with plaques outside Marlins Park

Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Baseball

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Marlins will display lasting memories of former All-Star pitcher Jose Fernandez and Hall-of-Fame Spanish broadcaster Rafael "Felo" Ramirez with plaques outside Marlins Park.

The plaques, expected to go on display Friday, will be attached to the column on the West Plaza that fans have been using to inscribe personal messages since Fernandez was killed in a boat crash on Sept. 25, 2016.

"The Marlins have been fortunate to have had some truly talented individuals within our organization through the years," Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter said in a statement. "Jose, on the field, and Felo, in the booth, each left a lasting legacy in Little Havana and throughout baseball. We wanted to commemorate them with plaques on the West Plaza for our fans and family members. Their memories will live on in our hearts and in our community."

Previous owner Jeffrey Loria had planned to erect a statue and retire the number of Fernandez, the charismatic Cuban defector who was the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star.

Fernandez's legacy has been tarnished by results of a toxicology report showing he had cocaine in his system and was legally drunk at the time of the crash that also killed Emilio Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25.

Fernandez's locker, which remained in the Marlins' clubhouse encased in glass throughout the 2017 season, has been removed.

His mother, Maritza Gomez Fernandez, was at the ballpark on Wednesday to see the plaque and take home Jose's gear from the locker, including Jerseys, cleats and gloves, according to a team spokesman.

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Ramirez, the beloved Spanish-language radio voice of the Marlins since their inaugural season, died last August at age 94.

Considered a pioneer of baseball broadcasting in his native Cuba, he began his career in Havana in 1945 and over the course of more than seven decades called more than 30 World Series and All-Star Games, plus over 40 Caribbean World Series dating to 1949.

Ramirez was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as the Ford C. Frick Award winner in 2001.

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