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Tony Fernandez, a five-time All-Star shortstop, dies at 57

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Tony Fernandez, a five-time All-Star shortstop, dies at 57

The shorttop Tony Fernandez, Toronto Blue Jays' five-time All-Star leader in hits and games played, died on Saturday at the age of 57.

The Blue Jays confirmed his death on Sunday, calling Fernandez "one of the most celebrated and respected players in our club.

"Tony left an equally indelible mark on the heart of a generation of Blue Jays fans during his 12 unforgettable seasons with the team. His impact on the baseball community in Toronto and Canada is immeasurable."

Fernandez was dealing with kidney disease and suffered a stroke, according to Hector Gomez of Deportivo Z101.

Fernandez was hired by Blue Jays as a teenager, outside the Dominican nursery in San Pedro de Macoris.

He helped the Jays reach the playoffs for the first time in the franchise's history in 1985 and was named All-Star for the first time the following season.

A faithful player, Fernandez won four consecutive Gold Glove awards in the 1986-89 position.

He was also involved in one of the biggest deals the franchise ever did when he and first baseman Fred McGriff went to the San Diego Padres in exchange for second baseman Roberto Alomar and player Joe Carter.

Fernandez played two years for the Padres and another for the New York Mets before returning to Toronto in a mid-season trade in 1993 and helping Blue Jays win their second consecutive World Series title.

After leaving Toronto as a free agent at the end of the 93 season, he finally returned for a third spell at the club in 1999 – when, at 37, he became an All-Star for the fifth time.

In addition to the Blue Jays, Padres and Mets, Fernandez also played for the Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers during his 17-year career in the major league. He finished with 2,276 hits, 246 bases stolen and an average of 288 hits.

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