The Miami Marlins are building a large statue to honor late pitcher Jose Fernandez.
The commissioning of the 9-10 foot statue was confirmed by team owner Jeffrey Loria, during an interview with ESPN.com.
"We're having a big sculpture of Jose made for the plaza or maybe in front of the stadium. William Behrends is doing it. He did the Willie McCovey and Willie Mays sculptures out in San Francisco," said Loria.
The Marlins currently have a large poster with personal messages dedicated to Fernandez outside the ballpark. Both the players and the fans have added their words to the tribute. The team has not stated if this will remain a permanent memorial or not. The statue could end up residing close to that current memorial area.
"We're going to cast it in bronze and paint the glove the red-orange that Jose would like, and that will be the only color on it. I don't want to make it kitschy, but that was his favorite thing," Loria added.
Fernandez used a glove that stood out on the mound and now the statue will be a permanent reminder of that. It is not known what type of pose will be used for the sculpture, but Loria has been heavily involved in the process.
"I went through hundreds and hundreds of photographs with the sculptor and gestures of Jose's face to try and make it perfect. No one else is going to get involved in a piece of sculpture other than me, right? I've spent 50 years in that world," Loria said about the development process.
Due to the height of the statue, the process is expected to take at least six more months. When Loria was asked why he made the statue several feet taller than Fernandez's actual height, he answered quickly.
"Because Jose was larger than life," Loria stated.
The Marlins are honoring Fernandez in multiple ways this season and have not announced all their plans. In addition to wearing a #16 patch on their jerseys, Miami could retire Fernandez's number during the season. The team's public address announcer also mentioned the late pitcher on Opening Night.
Miami is 4-4 so far this season and will host the New York Mets on Thursday evening at Marlins Park.