Baseball, a game that plays nearly everyday for eight straight months, froze for an entire day. It almost seemed as if nobody wanted to play, no fans wanted to watch and no teams even cared about the intense playoff races that have been heating up for weeks now.
This was the day that José Fernandez was killed in a tragic boating accident off the Florida coast. The Marlins ace was one of the brightest stars in major league baseball and was already on track for a hall of fame career at the age of 24.
Fernandez had a life story that seemed as if it were straight out of a
When Fernandez was born in Cuba and fell in love with the game of baseball at a young age. By the time he was 15 he had already attempted to escape Cuba four times.
Fernandez found himself in jail before finally escaping when he was 16. Fernandez and his mother found a home in Tampa Bay, where José excelled in high school baseball and landed himself a 14th overall selection in the 2011 MLB draft.
In April 2013, he made his major league debut and started dazzling from the beginning, earning himself the rookie of the year title.
The many accomplishments of Fernandez in his short career can take up an entire book, but his biggest impact on the game is who he was as a person. Fernandez embodied everything that was right about the game. He played the game with so much passion and excitement that you could feel the emotion from thousands of miles away as you watched him on television.
He had an infectious smile that he brought to the stadium day in and day out, and never let anyone forget about how grateful he was to play the game. He truly was an inspiration to anyone who had the opportunity to watch him play.
The Marlins cancelled their home game the day of his death and the entire league responded by taping “Fernandez” jerseys in the dugouts across the nation.
There were players from every team in tears during the moment of silence that was held across every MLB ballpark nationwide. Their lives were forever changed. The game lost one of the best they had to offer.
In a heart-breaking press conference held by the Marlins, head coach Don Mattingly said, “The way he played, there’s just joy with him when he played, as mad as he would make you with some of the stuff he would do, you just see that little kid that you see when you watch kids play Little League or something like that. That’s the joy that Jose played with and the passion he felt about playing, that’s what I think about.”
Major league baseball was lucky to have Fernandez for the time that it did, and his presence and positivity will forever be felt as players continue to mourn the loss of a young superstar.