Jose Fernandez’s impact went far beyond the baseball world.
The Florida Panthers will honor Fernandez during their season-opener against the New Jersey Devils by wearing custom #16 decals on their helmets. Fernandez wore number 16 during his four seasons in the big leagues.
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) October 13, 2016
The Miami Marlins pitcher passed away at 24-years old after a boating accident took his life and two others in September. The sports community was shaken following the news, as Fernandez personified everything great about the game. Known for his infectious positive attitude and being one of MLB’s most dominant pitchers, his death was unbelievably tragic and still, at times, unbelievable.
Fernandez does have connections to the Panthers, as he dropped the ceremonial first puck in a Panthers game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in February. Fernandez admitted to not knowing what to do during the puck drop and finally released it upon some nudging from Sidney Crosby and Jussi Jokinen.
Given his sizable impact across Florida sports, it’s a classy move by the Panthers organization to wear jerseys and decals supporting the life of the Marlins legend. It’s hard to believe Fernandez won’t pitch again, but with tributes like this one from the Panthers, and the tribute earlier this week by the Miami Heat, his name will continue to live on forever.