At age fifteen, a young boy from Santa Clara, Cuba attempted to defect from Cuba to the United States on a small boat. José Fernández was denied and was imprisoned three times, and on the fourth try, he and his mother made it to the United States. Prior to arrival in the United States, Fernández’s mother was washed off of the boat into the sea. Without even considering his own life, Fernández jumped in and saved his mother. He was always described as a good, courageous person who had a tremendous love for life.
Adding to his love for life, he had an unbreakable bond with his grandma, Olga Fernández, who taught him the game of baseball while he grew up in Cuba. His grandmother, who was not on the raft when he and his mother defected, was left behind in Cuba. In 2013, Fernández was on his way to the Rookie of the Year award when Miami Marlins owner, Jeffrey Loria, reunited the Fernández family as he brought Olga to the United States to see her all-star grandson. Fernández was speechless when he laid eyes on his grandma for the first time in six years.
This past Sunday morning, on the gorgeous Miami Beach, José Fernández laid dead due to a boating accident that happened earlier that morning. He and his two friends, Eddy Rivero and Emilio Macias, went out to boat on Miami Beach on Saturday night. The boat is predicted to have crashed a little bit before three o’clock that morning.
USA Today reported earlier today that prior to the accident, Fernández and his pregnant girlfriend had an argument that night. After the argument, Fernández left along with his two friends to go boating at Miami Beach. The 32-foot fishing boat slammed into a jetty tossing Fernández, Rivero, and Macias all outside of the boat, leaving the boat on the jetty.
The next morning, the Miami Marlins released a statement saying that their game against the Atlanta Braves would be cancelled due to Fernández’s death. This past Sunday, all of south Florida was mourning the loss of their star ace pitcher. Both the Marlins and the Braves spent some time at the field that day to remember José Fernández. Dee Gordon, the second baseman for the Miami Marlins lay out on the mound, the mound that belongs to José Fernández forever and always.
On Monday night, the Marlins faced off against the New York Mets. The Marlins decided to have each one of their players wear Fernández’s jersey to honor him. During pregame, the Marlins honored Fernández with a playing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on the trumpet. In the first inning, one of Fernández’s best friends, Dee Gordon, wore Fernández’s helmet as he started off his at-bat in the right handed hitter’s batting box. Gordon is a left-handed batter, and after he took the first pitch for Fernández, he stepped into the left-handed box and blasted a solo home run into right field.
Emotions arose and as Gordon was rounding the bases, he began to cry. When he got to home plate, he pointed up to the sky for in remembrance of Fernández. The Marlins ended up winning the game by a final score of 7-3. After the game, members of the Marlins placed their hats on the mound in remembrance of their fallen teammate.
Baseball is still mourning this tragic loss of one of the best pitchers in the league. During Fernández’s four years in the Majors, he pitched with an outstanding record of 38 wins and 17 losses. Adding to the wins and losses, he also held a 2.58 ERA. He pitched 471.1 innings, had 589 strikeouts, and had a WHIP of 1.05. With the rate that Fernández was going, he could be potentially have been a future Hall of Fame inductee. The Marlins retired Fernández’s number, stating that nobody will ever wear 16 again. Heaven has gained another ace, and that ace’s name is José Fernández.