Bronze statues are very often lightning rods for controversy.
It really doesn’t matter whether its a long-dead historical figure, cultural icon or game-changing athlete. There will often be some folks who don’t believe immortalizing a certain individual in bronze is a good idea.
How else, maybe, to explain why it took 70 years for the Los Angeles (formerly Brooklyn) Dodgers to erect a statue of the great Jackie Robinson at Dodger Stadium.
But sometimes they’re right. As is the case with the Miami marlins team owner Jeffrey Loria’s current plan to put a statue of former pitching ace Jose Fernandez at Marlins Park.
Fernandez was a young, charismatic (and dominating) pitcher that added a hometown charm as a Cuban-American. But his death at 24 in a boat crash was caused by unlawful behavior that also cost the lives of two other men. Two other men whose families would have added to their grief, a reminder that the man responsible for their loss is celebrated every day of the Major League Baseball season.
For many Post readers, that’s just too much. We published this letter from Jim Anderson of West Palm Beach on Wednesday:
The possibility that a statue may be erected in honor of Jose Fernandez, the Marlin’s late pitcher – who died at a young age – is absurd.
It has been determined that at the time of his death, he had drugs in his system, which may have caused a lack of judgment, resulting in a boating accident, resulting in his own death as well as that of two passengers.
Why would a person be honored for such an action?
Anderson was far from alone in raising that question. Roy Martinez of Jupiter wrote:
I think the idea of erecting a 9-foot statue of Jose Fernandez outside Marlins Park is a terrible idea. Does the fact that Fernandez had a 100-mph fastball overshadow his reckless behavior on the night he and his two friends died? How will those family members feel each time they see that statue?
Playing the game after he died, that was fine. The “16” patch on the Marlins uniforms, also fine. Turning his locker into a “mini-shrine”? Not 100 percent behind that idea.
Public relations being what it is, the statue will probably get built, a big ceremony will mark its unveiling and miniature versions will be available in the Marlins gift shop for a nominal cost.
And Rona Einhorn wrote to Post sports columnist Hal Habib:
I totally agree with your article today . I loved José . My husband and I attended the last game he pitched , the tickets to the game were a birthday present to me . We sat right over the Marlins dugout . What a game! He even said it was the best game he pitched. Then to wake up on Sunday morning and hear the news I just couldn’t believe it. I just don’t think that a large statue is the right way to honor him.
Thanks for the article.
After such sentiment is being espoused (maybe more so outside of Miami-Dade County) it will be interesting to see whether Loria shelves his planned monument — at least for now.