Former professional ballplayer Steve Sax, who played second base for the Yankees and Dodgers, is grieving the loss of his 33-year-old son, who was killed in a training flight crash as a member of the U.S. Marines in California.
“It is with complete devastation that I announce that my precious son, Johnny was one of the five US Marines that perished on Wednesday, June 8, in the Osprey Military crash near San Diego,” Sax said in a statement.
John Sax was one of 5 people killed during the training exercise on June 8, which resulted in the death of him and one other pilot, 31-year-old Nicholas Losapio.
“For those of you that knew Johnny, you saw his huge smile, bright light, his love for his family, the Marines, the joy of flying airplanes and defending our country,” the elder Sax said. “He was my hero and the best man I know, there was no better person to defend our country.”
In addition to Sax and Losapio, three other service members died in the tragedy, including 21-year-old Nathan Carlson, 21-year-old Seth Rasmuson, and 19-year-old Evan Strickland.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers are saddened to hear about the passing of Steve Sax’s son, John, and the five Marines who lost their lives in this week’s tragic helicopter accident. Our thoughts and condolences go out to their families and friends,” the Dodgers organization tweeted.
The elder Sax played in the MLB from 1981 to 1994, including the time he spent in the Bronx between 1989 and 1991. He also played for the Chicago White Sox and the Oakland Athletics later in his career.
In his time with the Bronx Bombers, he recorded a .294/.342/.376 stat line.
Sax was most known for his time with the Dodgers, though, as he spent his first 8 years in the majors playing in Los Angeles, where he won 2 World Series championships, in 1981 and 1988. He was a 5-time All Star, and won the NL Rookie of the Year award.
The United States armed services are still investigating the cause of the incident.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.