On Sunday, former Toronto Blue Jay shortstop Tony Fernandez passed away due to complications from kidney disease at the age of 57.
Fernandez came up with the Blue Jays in 1983, but did not become a starter with the team until two years later. In 1985, he compiled a .289 batting average with 10 home runs and 65 RBIs. The following year, Fernandez started showing off his talent by making his first All-Star appearance. That year, he finished with his first .300 batting average season. He received the All-Star nod again in 1987 after batting .322 from the plate.
He played eight seasons with Toronto before being traded to the San Diego Padres in 1991. Fernandez played there for two seasons and was eventually traded to the New York Mets after the 1992 season.
During the 1993 season, Fernandez struggled with a .225 batting average. Ironically, he was traded back to the Blue Jays during the 1993 season. For the remainder of the season, he improved to a .305 batting average and was a key role in the team’s World Series run. Against the Philadelphia Phillies, Fernandez drove in nine runs.
After one season with the Cincinnati Reds in 1994, Fernandez made his way back to New York to play for the New York Yankees. Due to injury, he wasn’t on the field as much. He finished the year with a .245 batting average and hit for the cycle. He missed all of the 1996 season due to an elbow injury.
The Cleveland Indians signed Fernandez in 1997, and as a result, he guided them to the World Series with his game-winning home run against Baltimore in the ALCS. The Indians came up short to the Florida Marlins in Game 7.
In 1998, Fernandez made his way back to the Blue Jays once again. The move rejuvenated his career, as he hit over .300 in each of the following two seasons. Included was a career-high .328 batting average and made the All-Star team.
In 2000, Fernandez played in Japan for the Seibu Lions, but returned to the MLB in 2001 to play for the Milwaukee Brewers and back to the Blue Jays to end his baseball career.
Tony Fernandez finished with a career batting average of .288 and compiled 2,276 hits. He was a five-time All-Star and was awarded four consecutive gold gloves from 1986-89. When the lights got brighter in the postseason, he didn’t disappoint.