Former Blue Jays SS Tony Fernandez Dies at 57 from Kidney Disease

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2020

27 Feb 1998: Infielder Tony Fernandez of the Toronto Blue Jays in action during a spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at the Grant Field in Dunedin, Florida. The Blue Jays defeated the Phillies 5-0.
Craig Melvin/Getty Images

Five-time All-Star Tony Fernandez died Saturday at the age of 57 due to complications from kidney disease. 

The Toronto Blue Jays, who Fernandez played with for 12 seasons, offered their condolences in a statement:

In December 2017, Fernandez announced on Twitter he was hospitalized in Florida after being diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. 

"I'm under medical treatment, I can barely speak," he wrote. "But I wanna ask my friends and followers to continue praying. God is in control."

Rob Leth of Global News Sports reported Jan. 31 that Fernandez was in critical condition due to an issue with his kidneys. 

“Tony Fernandez was one of the finest people I've ever met in baseball,” former Blue Jays manager Buck Martinez said, via MLB.com's Keegan Matheson. “He was a terrific person, first and foremost, a great father, a great husband and a great teammate, a hell of a player. I’ll always remember how much joy he had when he played the game. He loved to play the game.”

Fernandez signed with Toronto as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1979. He made his MLB debut as a 21-year-old in September 1983 and became a full-time starter during the 1985 season. 

From 1986-89, Fernandez won four straight Gold Glove Awards and was named an All-Star three times. He won a World Series title with the Blue Jays in 1993. 

The Blue Jays gave Fernandez the Level of Excellence award that recognizes tremendous individual achievement in 2001.

Over the course of his 17-season MLB career from 1983-2001, Fernandez played for the Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. He had a .288/.347/.399 slash line with 2,276 hits. 

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