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White Sox mourn loss of superstar Fernandez

Marlins right-hander passed away Sunday morning in boating accident
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CLEVELAND -- Todd Frazier faced Jose Fernandez eight times when the White Sox third baseman played for the Reds. Frazier still fondly remembers their first informal encounter the day after their first on-field encounter.

"He was out in the outfield throwing the next day. I was like, 'Dog, you don't throw me any fastballs.' He was like, 'Why would I throw you fastballs?'" Frazier said. "And we just started laughing."

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CLEVELAND -- Todd Frazier faced Jose Fernandez eight times when the White Sox third baseman played for the Reds. Frazier still fondly remembers their first informal encounter the day after their first on-field encounter.

"He was out in the outfield throwing the next day. I was like, 'Dog, you don't throw me any fastballs.' He was like, 'Why would I throw you fastballs?'" Frazier said. "And we just started laughing."

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Frazier was one of the many players around Major League Baseball, let alone in the White Sox clubhouse Sunday morning, sharing their memories and trying to find the right words to describe the immense influence of the 24-year-old Fernandez, who tragically died Sunday in a boating accident. Fernandez's passion for the game and for life stood out above the great talent that made him one of the game's best starting pitchers.

Video: Ken Rosenthal discusses Jose Fernandez's passing

"You could come up and talk to him," Frazier said. "He had an infectious smile and just had a love for the game that I hope every ballplayer could have."

:: Jose Fernandez: 1992-2016 ::

"I don't personally know him, but you enjoy watching and seeing what he brings to the game. It's a sad day. It really is," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "The guys that knew him in here talk about his personality and loving life. What he came from, how he got here, all that goes into it. It's always sad when something like that happens."

White Sox players sat together in the Progressive Field visitors' clubhouse Sunday morning watching the news conference with various officials explaining what happened in the accident that took Fernandez's life. Jose Abreu, who was friendly with the late Marlins pitcher, chose not to comment Sunday morning.

Dan Jennings, who played with Fernandez on the Marlins in 2013 and '14, spoke about his teammate after a 3-0 White Sox win over the Indians on Sunday.

"He seemed invincible, is what it was," Jennings said. "A lot of guys know what I mean when I say he was invincible on the mound. There were days he was unstoppable, and that's how you viewed him is invincible. It's too hard to really put into words what he meant to the game and what he meant to Miami.

"I remember a few days ago telling somebody, 'Man, I wish I had that guy on my team still.' You felt like you were going to win every fifth day. Just a competitor and the guy he was, how much he loved the game, I kind of figured out what my feelings were. I just hope to love the game as much as he does some day. He had fun. He loved the game more than anything."

Carson Fulmer, the White Sox top prospect per MLBPipeline.com and a fellow Florida high school standout, tweeted these words of respect about Fernandez:

"Not only a dominant pitcher, but a leader and a role model for his community. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Fernandez family." @Carson_Fulmer.

Tweet from @Carson_Fulmer: Not only a dominant pitcher, but a leader and a role model for his community. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Fernandez family.

Fernandez originally was lined up to pitch against the White Sox on Aug. 14 at the end of a three-game Interleague series in Miami, with Chris Sale also on the mound for the visitors. But Fernandez was moved back a day and missed the series.

Even without a personal connection for many, the White Sox mourned the loss of a highly valued member of their brotherhood.

"You don't have to know them personally, but they're within their group, and it breaks everybody up," Ventura said. "It really does."

Video: CWS@CLE: Ventura talks about the loss of Fernandez

"It's a terrible, terrible day. He's going to be missed," Frazier said. "We are all family. It doesn't matter who it is. A boating accident ... I mean, life doesn't make sense sometimes. God has another angel up there I guess. Hopefully we can all get through this and rest in peace, that's all I can say."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Fernandez