Baseball fans shocked at death of José Fernández


On Sunday, Sept. 25, two-time National League All-Star José Fernández was killed in a boating accident near the coast of Miami Beach in Miami, Florida.

Early Sunday morning, the U. S. Coast Guard found Fernández and the bodies of two other men, along with their capsized boat, on a jetty. The 24-year-old pitcher will be remembered for his remarkable journey to the major leagues, his fiery passion for baseball, and his short but very successful career.

Fernández was viewed as one of the best pitchers in baseball, on his way to signing an enormous contract. He was on pace to sign a deal worth at least $200 million in 2018. However, the pitcher was very close to never making it to the U. S., let alone becoming the ace of the Miami Marlins. He had to escape Cuba and travel to the U. S. with his family in hopes of having a better life.

Fernández lived in Santa Clara, Cuba, with his mother, grandmother and sister. At a young age he became friends with his neighbor, Aledmys Diaz, the current shortstop of the St. Louis Cardinals. Diaz’s uncle was a very influential figure for Fernández because he was the one who convinced Fernández’s mother to bring him to the ballpark. Seeing that he might have a potential career in baseball, Fernández’s ambition to leave Cuba grew.

Fernández attempted to leave Cuba three times, but he was unsuccessful on each occasion, and was required to serve a prison sentence for each time he was caught. He was required to serve a prison sentence each time he was caught. This did not cause Fernández to give up – he still wanted a better life for himself and his family. In 2007, Fernández tried again with his mother and sister.

They were finally able to escape Cuba. After they safely made it to Mexico, they traveled to Tampa, Florida and moved in with his stepfather, Ramón Jiménez, in 2008. Fernández enrolled in Braulio Alonso High School and then later joined their baseball team. He was very successful as he won two state-championships and threw two no-hitters.

His success began to catch the eyes of MLB teams. The Miami Marlins selected him with the fourteenth overall pick of the 2011 MLB draft. After his rookie season, the Miami Marlins arranged a deal to bring his grandmother, Olga, to the U. S. Fernández often referred to her as “the love of his life.” They had a very special relationship because she helped coach him while he was growing up. The team surprised Fernández during an interview by bringing his grandmother in to see him. He broke into tears of joy. This was the first time he had seen her in six years.

Fernández’s journey to the MLB draft was far from easy. His tenacity and his strong desire for a better life guided him there.

Since Fernández made his major league debut in 2020, the entire baseball community has known that he was one of the most passionate players in the league. The fiery energy and electric enthusiasm that he exhibited every game was truly original. Before one of his starts, he would try to pump up the whole entire team by yelling and cheering. While he would be in the dugout in between innings, he would the loudest and supportive teammate he could be. On the field, he would scream and cheer to motivate his fielders, as well as showing his enthusiasm and excitement after he would strike somebody out or an outfielder would make a diving catch. Fernández would always thank and give credit to his teammates and coaches in his press conference. His exhilaration, on and off of the field, was very contagious – he was the ideal teammate.

Debuting in 2020, Fernández won the National League Rookie of the Year award, as well as finishing third in the National League Cy Young award voting. Making his first start at the age of 20, he finished that season second in earned run average with a 2.19, struck out 187 batters in only 172 2/3 innings, and won 12 games. He made the All-Star team that year for the first time. The combination of his personality and his achievements at such a young age made him an up-and-coming super star. His 2020 and 2020 seasons were abbreviated from receiving Tommy John Surgery, a procedure in which a healthy tendon extracted from an arm, or occasionally a leg, is used to replace an arm’s torn ligament. This caused him to stop pitching in May of 2020, and he did not pitch again until July of 2020.

This season, Fernández was much more dominant on the mound, striking out 253 batters in only 182 1/3 innings. He had 16 wins and his fastball was faster than ever. He was selected as a National League All-Star. Despite his death, he is in the conversation for this year’s National League Cy Young award.

The whole baseball community was devastated about his death. The MLB cancelled the Marlins’ game against the Atlanta Braves and teams throughout the league paid tributes by having moments of silence and hanging his jersey in their dugouts. Multiple players honored him by writing his initials and his number 16 on their hats with sharpie. One of the biggest tributes came during the Marlins’ first game after they lost their ace. In the first inning of the New York Mets, Miami second basemen and one of Fernández’s good friends, Dee Gordon, hit a home run. Gordon is not a home run hitter. It was his first of the season, as well as being the farthest ball Gordon ever hit. He was the first Marlins player to go to bat after Fernández’s death. “I told the boys, if y’all don’t believe in God, y’all might as well start,” Gordon said. “I ain’t ever hit a ball that far, even in batting practice…we had some help.” Gordon believes the he felt the help of his good friend Fernández when he hit that home run.

Sadly, Fernández will never pitch again, but his legacy will never be forgotten. His journey to the league will teach people not to take things for granted. His energy will show people how important it is to be passionate about what you do. His career is a demonstration of how everything that one does will make an impact, even if they do not do it for a long time. Fernández is going to be greatly missed, but his impact on society is everlasting.

Campus Chronicle
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