Two years ago today, the baseball world lost a bright young star and Marlins fans lost their beloved ace. Jose Fernandez lost his life tragically in a boating accident in the early morning of September 25th, 2016.
Just five days after pitching possibly the best game of his career, Jose would pass away off the shores of Miami Beach. Getting into the details of how he passed and what investigators think happened isn’t the goal of this article. The goal of this article is to remind Marlins’ fans that their beloved ace was a great human being and to retell his story.
Jose was born in Cuba in 1992 and defected to the United States in 2007. It took Jose and his mother four tries to finally make it to the US. The journey was not easy.
On the way to the US, waves had knocked Jose’s mother off the boat and Jose had jumped into the ocean to save her while not knowing it was his mother that fell off the boat. Jumping into the ocean to save someone while not knowing who it was, showed how selfless Jose was.
Jose and his family would move to Tampa Bay where he would go on to lead his high school team to two state championships. After his senior year, Jose became eligible for the 2011 MLB Draft. Fernandez would go on to be drafted by the Marlins as the 14th pick in the first round.
Today marks two years since the death of Jose Fernandez.
We have two exclusive interviews revisiting that day & the life of JDF.
The first being with his agent, Scott Boras, in the episode below. Take a listen, Marlins fans.
— Swings and Mishes (@SwingsAndMishes) September 25, 2018
Jose only spent two seasons in the minors before making his MLB debut against the Mets on April 7th, 2013. His debut was phenomenal for someone who hasn’t even turned twenty-one. Twenty-year-old Fernandez hurled five innings of one-run ball with eight punch outs against David Wright and the Mets.
Jose finished his rookie season with a 12-6 record, a 2.19 ERA with 187 strikeouts. Fernandez earned himself a selection to the 2013 MidSummer Classic at Citi Field. Ironically, Citi Field is where he made his MLB debut and dominated the Mets. His rookie year performance earned him the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2013. Jose became the first Cuban born player to earn this award.
In 2014, Jose made eight starts with a 4-2 record, a 2.44 ERA, and 70 strikeouts. His 2014 season would be cut short due to Jose tearing his UCL and opting to undergo Tommy John Surgery. The surgery proved to be successful as Fernandez would make a full recovery and return to the mound back on July 2nd, 2015.
In 2015, even after TJ surgery, Fernandez still did his thing going 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA and 79 strikeouts. A sub-three ERA is a great comeback for any pitcher, it shows promise for the future of that pitcher. For Jose, the future was more bright than anyone could imagine.
In his 2016 campaign he absolutely dominated the opposition. Fernandez would go on to have a 16-8 record with a 2.86 ERA with 253 strikeouts. Fernandez’s holds the record for most consecutive wins at home with 17. That streak would be snapped early 2016. Jose had gone 17-0 with a 1.40 ERA in 27 career starts at home.
Fernandez became the fastest starting pitcher ever to reach 500 career strikeouts, doing it in 400 career innings pitched. He would’ve reached that milestone a lot quicker had he not undergone Tommy John Surgery but nonetheless, he is still the fastest to reach the feat.
Jose’s life would tragically end two years ago tonight. Marlins fans would lose their beloved ace and their hope for a future with the young team that they had.
Rest in Peace to our ace, we all miss you Niño, along with your enthusiasm, and your energy in the game.