In Memoriam: José Fernández

Maggie Leone '17, Sports Editor

Pitcher for the Miami Marlins, José Fernández, died tragically on September 25th, 2016, in a boating accident at the age of 24.  A native of Santa Clara, Cuba, Fernández made his debut with the Marlins in April 2013.  He was named to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game and won the National League Rookie of the Month Award in July and August.  After the season, he won National League Rookie of the Year Award.  He underwent Tommy John (elbow) surgery in the 2014 season, which is often career ending, but in the 2015 season, he remarkably set a major league record for consecutive wins at home by a single pitcher with his seventeenth such win on September 25th.  In the 2016 season, he became the second pitcher in Marlins history to produce a game winning hit and once again appeared in the All-Star Game.  During his last game on September 20th, he pitched eight shutout innings against the Washington Nationals and told a teammate it was “the best game he ever pitched.”

On September 25th at 3:00 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard found a boat, overturned on a jetty off of Miami Beach, Florida.  In it were three victims, one of which was Fernández, who had not been driving the boat, but was killed by the impact of the crash.  His friends Emilio Macias (27) and Eduardo Rivero (25) also died in the accident.

The Marlins cancelled their game against the Atlanta Braves that day and teams around the nation honored his death.  There was a league-wide moment of silence, as well as a number of tributes to Fernández throughout the league, many of which involved his jersey number, No. 16, which the Marlins will be retiring.  On September 26th, the Marlins beat the New York Mets 7-3.  The Marlins all wore the number 16 in memory of their fallen teammate.   The whole game was a very touching and emotional tribute to Fernández.  Teammate Dee Gordon wore Fernández’s helmet in honor of him, and on his first time at bat, hit a homerun.  The fans went wild as emotions ran high.

Fernández’s ashes were scattered in the ocean following his funeral on September 28th.