The baseball community is deeply saddened by the recent passing of Miami Marlins pitcher, Jose Fernandez.
Fernandez was born in Cuba in 1992 and immigrated to the United States in 2008. He died tragically in a boating accident in September of 2016, leaving behind his loving family and a girlfriend who is expecting a child.
Achieving Early Glory
After being picked by the Miami Marlins in the first round of the 2011 draft, Jose Fernandez began his rookie season in 2013. At his MLB debut game, Fernandez began setting records by becoming the seventh pitcher under the age of 21 to achieve at least eight strikeouts during his first game. By the end of his rookie season, Fernandez:
- was rated as one of the Top 10 all-time pitchers under 21
- had one of the highest strikeout rates for his league
- had won two Rookie of the Year awards
- had come in third place for the Cy Young Award
Despite struggling with injuries and surgery for parts of the 2014-2015 seasons, Fernandez continued his streak of amazing performance. Fernandez started the 2014 season strong by pitching nine strikeouts, joining only a few other pitchers to do so on opening day.
He was also awarded National League Pitcher of the month in April of 2014. In 2015, he recorded six strikeouts in six innings during one game and went on to set a major league record of 17 consecutive wins at home. His final game was on September 20th, 2016, when he pitched eight shutout innings and helped his team secure a 1-0 win.
An All-Star Player
In addition to his spectacular regular season achievements, Fernandez was also selected to represent the Miami Marlins at the MLB All-Star Game two separate times. During the 2013 game, Fernandez was the only rookie and the second youngest player in attendance.
He performed well, striking out several seasoned hitters during the game. He also attended the games in 2016, pitching for just over one inning. Fernandez had the exciting experience of pitching for one of his childhood baseball heroes, David Ortiz, who was playing the final All-Star Game of his career.
A Community Champion
Jose Fernandez was more than just an amazing athlete. He was also a dedicated representative of the Cuban-American community. Before even completing high school, Fernandez tried three times to escape his home country, each time failing, before ultimately making it to the U.S. Years later, the community at large connected with his experience of finally reuniting with his Grandmother after her escape from Cuba.
His story of struggling to make a new start in a different country is one that hits home for people of Cuban descent and all immigrants. During his time with the Marlins, Fernandez continuously reached out to the people of the Miami community, inviting kids from the neighborhood to attend Sunday home games, tour the field, and spend time with him during the pregame.
He also worked with ASL charities and other community organizations. His family is starting the JDF16 foundation to continue his legacy of community involvement and good works. Despite early adversity, Jose Fernandez rose to greatness through his hard work and talent. He was a loving family man, a dedicated team member, and an inspiration to both the Cuban community and the American public. Although his life was sadly cut short, his legacy will never be forgotten by the baseball community.
The No Errors team will continue to hold the Fernandez Family in our thoughts and honor the mark he left on the great game of baseball.