The baseball world has lost one of its brightest young stars. Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident along with two other victims on September 25 in Miami Beach. There has been an outpour of condolences from current and former MLB players as well as athletes from other professional sports. He was only 24 years old.
Fernandez defected from his home country, Cuba in 2007 and he attended high school Tampa, Florida where he quickly became one of the most sought after prospects in baseball. The Marlins selected him as the 14th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft and he made his big league debut just two years later, making the National League All-Star team and winning the National League Rookie of the Year award.
Injuries briefly slowed down Fernandez’s career when he missed parts of 2014 and 2015 due to elbow issues. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 and made his return in the following year.
In his final season, Fernandez showed nothing but brilliance on the mound. He made the All-Star team for the second time in his career and won a career-high 16 games with a 2.86 ERA. His 253 strikeouts are the most in a single-season for any pitcher in Marlins history. Fernandez made his final start on September 20 against the Washington Nationals, pitching eight shutout innings and striking out 12 batters in a 1-0 victory.
As much of a fun-loving pitcher that he was, he will also be remembered for being a family-oriented person. During his career, he always spoke about how much his family meant to him and how much they supported him, both on and off the field. He recently announced that his girlfriend, Carla Mendoza was pregnant with their first child.
A life and career that ended far too soon, Fernandez was one of the game’s top phenoms. The young right-hander brought excitement to the game and dazzled hitters with his four pitch repertoire. He had only scratched the surface of his baseball talents in his four seasons as a big leaguer.