By: Rossy Pasternak
Much has been written and said already about the passing of the Marlins’ Ace pitcher, and much more will be. All of Fernandez’s stats will last the test of time, as will his accomplishments. So, rather than list off the great statistics Fernandez has put up, and all of the accolades he has earned, I want to write something about what his life meant to others.
It is easy to begin with his journey to America from Cuba. Jose Fernandez made 3 attempts at defecting, being caught and arrested twice. On his third trip, he jumped in the water to save a woman from drowning. Before jumping in, he had no clue that the woman was actually his mother. This was just the first example we hear about Fernandez’s love for others, and his heroism.
Fernandez has set an example to all of the future Cuban’s who dream of coming to America to play professional baseball with they way he went about his business. Fernandez was rarely seen without his signature smile lighting the room. Even through his darkest times, including the defection attempts and the scary Tommy John surgery, Fernandez was an electrifying presence to be around.
Fernandez was a perfect fit in Miami, a city who has a large latino population, and many defectors from Cuba. In Miami, he was able to frequently engage the community due to his background, and got involved charitably in any way possible. Specifically, Fernandez helped ALS charities, and brought children from less-developed neighbourhoods to Marlins games.
Fernandez’s love was never stronger than that for his Grandmother and Mother. He is survived by them, as well as his longtime girlfriend and their unborn baby, and the countless teammates and friends he made an impact on during his life.
Around the league, with the moments of silence, the tributes, and the general sadness and feeling of tragedy, Fernandez’s loss can be felt. In New York, Yoenis Cespedes hung a Fernandez jersey in the dugout. In Tampa Bay, the Rays along with David Ortiz cancelled a pre-game ceremony that was supposed to honour the slugger in his last game at Tropicana Field.
The oft-criticized Marlins Owner, Jeffrey Loria, may have put it best today when he said “Sadly, the brightest lights are often the ones that extinguish the fastest”.
Fernandez will be missed, both in baseball and in life.
Our prayers here at SportsNak are with Fernandez, his family, his friends, and his teammates.
Rest in Peace Jose, we’ll miss you!
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