|Intro||Dominican Republic Baseball player|
|Was||Athlete Baseball player|
|From||Dominican Republic United States of America|
|Birth||30 June 1962, San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic|
|Death||15 February 2020 (aged 57 years)|
Octavio Antonio Fernández Castro (June 30, 1962 – February 15, 2020), better known as Tony Fernández, was a Dominican baseball shortstop who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball for seven teams, most notably the Toronto Blue Jays. Fernández was known for his defensive skills, setting a nine-year record for shortstops with a .992 fielding percentage in 1989, while still holding the single-season fielding percentage record for third basemen with .991 in 1994.
Fernandez was born in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic.
Fernández was first scouted by the Toronto Blue Jays' famed Latin America scout Epy Guerrero and was signed as an undrafted free agent in 1979. Promoted to the Blue Jays in 1983, Fernández became the team's full-time shortstop in 1985, and contributed significantly to the team winning its first division title that year. Fernández continued to star for the Jays for several years afterwards. His 213 hits in 1986 were, at the time, a major league single-season record for a shortstop (the record has since been surpassed).
Before the 1991 season, Fernández was traded to the San Diego Padres in a major deal that also sent Jays star Fred McGriff to San Diego in exchange for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter. Fernández played well for San Diego for two years and then began the 1993 season with the New York Mets. After a disappointing start, he was traded back to the Blue Jays. He played well for the remainder of the season and was instrumental in helping the Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. In that World Series, Fernández drove in nine runs, a record for a shortstop.
Fernández played for the New York Yankees in 1995. It was because of an injury early in the season to Fernández that Derek Jeter was called up to the major leagues for the first time.
In 1997, he reached the World Series again, with the Cleveland Indians, thanks in large part to his own game-winning home run against Baltimore in the American League Championship Series. This is the only 1-0 game in postseason history where the run was an extra-innings home run. Playing at second base, he committed an error in the bottom of the 11th inning in Game 7 of the World Series; this broke up a potential double play, and the eventual World Series-winning run was put on base. He hit a two-run single in the top of the third inning for the Indians' only runs of the game, and would have been credited with the Series-winning hit for Cleveland had they won the game.
In 1998, he rejoined the Blue Jays, and revitalized his hitting, batting over .300 in two seasons there. In 2000, Fernández played for the Seibu Lions in Japan before returning to the majors the following year. When he returned in 2001, he briefly played for the Milwaukee Brewers but returned to Toronto late in the season, and retired at its conclusion.
A very thin man, Fernández had a tilted, wavering batting stance that made it appear as if he might not be strong enough to hold his bat. From early in his career he carried a scar on his right cheek from a pitched ball. Fernández was a noted fitness fanatic; he liked buying unusual home exercise machines and trying them out in the clubhouse.
Early in his career, Fernández was well known for his exceptional defensive skills at shortstop, and was described by Ivan Maisel in a Sports Illustrated article as having "the range of a Texas cattleman". He was especially famous for leaping into the air while simultaneously making an underhanded throw to first base, on balls hit far to his right.
Fernández was awarded four consecutive Gold Glove Awards for his defense, from 1986 to 1989. Fernández was also named to five All-Star teams. He finished his career with a .288 batting average in 2,158 games played, and batted .327 in postseason play. Fernandez hit for the cycle as a New York Yankee on September 3, 1995, against the Oakland Athletics.
On October 17, 2016, Fernandez was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, where he thanked the fans in Toronto, Ontario and in Canada for embracing him.
Fernández was of Haitian descent.
Fernández announced in 2017 he had been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. On February 15, 2020, Fernández died due to complications related to the disease; he had earlier suffered a stroke and was placed into an induced coma after developing pneumonia.