The Toronto Blue Jays will honour their all-time hits leader Tony Fernandez during the 2020 season, by wearing a number 1 uniform patch.
Everyone connected to the Toronto Blue Jays was saddened when Tony Fernandez passed away in February, at the age of 57. Now, the club has announced their intention to honour the memory of one of the franchise’s best ever players.
As reported by The Canadian Press via CBC, the Blue Jays will honour Fernandez by wearning a number 1 uniform patch for the duration of the 2020 MLB season. He is the club’s all-time leader in hits (1,583), triples (72) and games played (1,450), as well as third in batting average (.297) and doubles (291).
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This is a fitting tribute for the five-time All-Star, who died in hospital after complications with a stroke, pneumonia, and an induced coma. As per CBC, he had suffered healthy issues for several years, after first being hospitalized with polycystic kidney disease in 2017.
Fernandez will alway be fondly remembered in Toronto, where he spent all or part of 12 of his 17 Major League seasons. He had a reputation for excellent defence and won four Gold Glove awards during his MLB career, all with the Blue Jays.
Most importantly of all, the Dominican Republic native won a World Series championship with the Blue Jays in 1993. He was traded away ahead of the 1991 season, but returned in time to play a vital role in helping the club beat the Philadelphia Phillies.
Fernandez batted .333 during the World Series versus the Phillies and led the club with nine RBI. This included five RBI during Game 4, a crazy and exciting 15-14 win in Philadelphia.
The decision to wear a number 1 uniform patch is not the first time the Blue Jays have honoured the fan favourite. In 2001, the club placed his name on their Level of Excellence at Rogers Centre.
Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro released a statement on Monday about honouring Fernandez. As per CBC, the statement read:
"“There are few players in the game who can impact a team and a fan base the way Tony did in Toronto. Beyond his impressive career numbers, achievements, and accolades, Tony resonated with baseball fans because of how he played the game and conducted himself as a teammate. To wear a patch in his memory is to honour his exceptional life on behalf of Blue Jays fans across the country.”"
Nothing can ever take away the pain of losing a loved one. However, you hope that Fernandez’s family will be able to take some solace and pride from the Blue Jays’ class decision to honour him during the coming season.
What impressed you most about Fernandez during his MLB career? What do you remember from his time with the Toronto Blue Jays specifically? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.