Jose Fernandez (1992-2016): A star gone too soon

On Sept. 20, Miami Marlins Ace Pitcher Jose Fernandez took the mound against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park. Fernandez went eight innings and strikeout 12 batters to achieve his 16th win of the season.

This was the final game of Fernandez’s career as he would die in a boating accident just off the Miami shore in the early hours of Sept. 25. Fernandez lost his life at the young age of 24. Fernandez was a man that was never fazed when a challenge was placed in front of him. As a child growing up in Cuba, he was somewhat pushed into baseball by his family and friends. Once his parents started to see the skills he had, they knew that they would have to defect to the United States where their son would be able to prosper playing the game he loved and live the American dream. The problem was getting out of Cuba. The first time Fernandez tried to leave the country he was caught and thrown into jail. He later tried again and achieved the same result. The third time, however, was the charm for Jose, as he was able to leave the country successfully.

After going to high school in Florida, the Miami Marlins picked Fernandez in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft. For two seasons in the minor leagues, he ripped up the opposing batters and showed that he was the real deal. Fernandez made his major league debut in the 2013 season against my favorite team, the New York Mets. After watching him on the mound, I was impressed with not only his performance, but the cool and calm way that he handled situations. As his rookie campaign went on, he continued to break rookie strikeout records. Fernandez was honored as the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year, and finished third in the CY Young Award, as a rookie.

The 2014 season was supposed to be the year of even higher goals compared to his rookie campaign, but like many pitchers these days, Fernandez needed Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2014 season. The 2015 season was a wash like the 2014 season. Fernandez spent most of the season recovering from his Tommy John surgery, but he returned to the mound in September and finished out the last month of the season looking to get ready for his 2016 campaign.

Once the 2016 started, Fernandez stepped on the mound and he returned to his 2014 form. The Marlins ace took on a historic season and start to make records his. Prior to his death, Fernandez broke the Miami Marlins single season strikeout record and would have had weeks to add onto it. Fernandez was even breaking pitching records that were made in the early 1900s. The one thing I loved about Jose Fernandez was his demeanor. In todays “me” generation of sports where you see athletes only care about what is good for themselves and their platform, Jose Fernandez would go out there and not fight for himself, but for his whole team. He was the man that would put the entire squad on his back and carry them if he had to.

I do believe without a doubt that Jose Fernandez would have taken the record book and rewritten almost every pitching record by the time his career had ended, which would have been years from now if this tragic accident had not occurred. Jose Fernandez was something that I, as a baseball fan, would want my future children to be if they had ever wanted to play the sport. Not even baseball — any sport. Jose Fernandez was a man that loved everything about the game. He was a future hall of famer and now he is lost. But the most important part of this is the fact that his girlfriend is pregnant with their first child. Now a little girl will never have the opportunity to meet their father. She will never see the man that was not only an amazing baseball player, but an amazing human being as well.