Miami Marlins leadoff hitter Dee Gordon followed an emotional pre-game tribute to fallen pitcher Jose Fernandez with a majestic home run.
Miami Marlins leadoff hitter Dee Gordon followed an emotional pre-game tribute to fallen pitcher Jose Fernandez with a majestic home run in his first at-bat against the New York Mets on Monday.
On the third pitch of the game, Gordon connected on his first homer of the season, crying as he rounded the bases before being embraced by his team-mates.
Gordon was wearing Fernandez's helmet on the first pitch of the game as he stood on the right side of the plate.
He then took off the helmet and moved to his normal left-handed side of the batter's box and homered off Bartolo Colon just two pitches later.
Just 36 hours after learning they have lost their ace after a tragic boating accident on Sunday, the Marlins honoured Fernandez at Marlins Park before taking on the Mets in their first game since the 24-year-old's tragic death.
Fans cheered as the Marlins, all donning Fernandez's black number 16 jersey, took the field for a moment of silence.
A lone trumpet played 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' as a video tribute of Fernandez played on the video boards, leaving not a dry eye on the Marlins sideline.
The eight defensive starters for the Marlins stood around the mound painted in homage to the right-hander.
As the national anthem ended, the Mets and Marlins embraced and shared hugs, with the Marlins then gathering around the mound to write their own tributes into the dirt before Giancarlo Stanton delivered words of encouragement in a team huddle on the field.
Fernandez defected to the United States from Cuba in 2007 with his mother and sister after three previous unsuccessful attempts to leave the island nation.
He was a first-round draft pick of the Marlins in 2011, National League Rookie of the Year in 2013 and a two-time All-Star, including this season, which was the best of his four-year MLB career.