Marlins commission 'larger than life' Jose Fernandez statue for ballpark

Team owner Jeffrey Loria, a longtime art dealer and collector, has been working with the sculptor on the piece.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has commissioned a massive statue of Jose Fernandez to memorialize the late pitcher at Marlins Park.

Loria told ESPN.com in a lengthy interview posted Thursday that the bronze piece should be ready in about six months. An art dealer and collector for more than a half century, Loria said he has taken an active role in the design with sculptor William Behrends.

"I went through hundreds and hundreds of photographs with the sculptor and gestures of Jose's face to try and make it perfect," Loria told ESPN. "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."

Behrends' best-known work might be the statues of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda outside AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The Fernandez statue is expected to stand 9 or 10 feet tall. Asked why he wanted to go that route rather than a life-sized piece, Loria responded: "Because Jose was larger than life."

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