Marlins Star Dies in Boating Accident

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez came to the United States as a teenager in a boat from Cuba. At one point a young Jose saved his mother when she fell overboard.

It was a boat that game Fernandez his new life…and a boat that took it away.

On September 24/25 Jose Fernandez and two friends were in a 32 foot SeaVee, owned by a friend, when the boat crashed against a jetty of rocks off Miami Beach and capsizing the boat. The 24 year old was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident. Law enforcement authorities found no drugs or alcohol at the scene. Authorities stated that two bodies were found under the boat and the third in the water. The other victims names have not been revealed. But the Miami Police Department has stated one of the other victims was the son of a Miama-Dade detective.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Lorenzo Veloz described the condition of the boat as horrible and said, “it does appear that speed was involved due to the impact and the severity of it. It does appear to be that they were coming at full speed when they encountered the jetty, and the accident happened.” Veloz noted that Fernandez died as a result of trauma, not drowning.

An exact time of the accident is not known but the boat was discovered at about 3am Sunday September 25.

As a result of the tragedy, the Miami Marlins baseball team canceled the game with the Atlanta Braves. He was scheduled to start on Monday in the game against the New York Mets.

Speaking on Fernandez, Mets manager Terry Collins said, “when the first pitch left his hand, the first thought is, ‘Oh, wow, this is something special’”. This was not only one of the greatest pitchers in the modern game but one of the finest young men you’d ever meet, who played the game with passion and fun and enjoyed being out there.” Collins selected Fernandez as a member of his National League All Star team this past July. While ballparks across the country had a moment of silence in tribute to Fernandez, the Mets hung Fernandez’s number 16 jersey hanging in their dugout.

Hall of Fame baseball player and executive with the Marlins Tony Perez is also a native of Cuba. Speaking on the tragedy Perez said, “all I can do is scream in disbelief. Jose won the love of all. I fell as if I had lost a son.” Perez’s own son Eduardo played professional baseball and is now a baseball broadcaster.

The Marlins drafted Fernandez in the first round of the 2011 draft out of Braulio Alonso High Schoo. He made his debut with the Marlins in 2013 where he was named Rookie of the Year. Fernandez was named to the All Star team twice. He had a record of 38-17 over the past three seasons with an ERA of 2.58. In his last game, Fernandez pitched eight shutout innings with 12 strikeouts for a season total of 254 strikeouts.

Speaking on Fernandez, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “he was one of our game’s great young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field since his debut in 2013. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he touched in his life.”

Fernandez’s Marlins team mates gathered at Marlins Park to grieve together which included some words and a lot of tears.

Jose Fernandez was born July 31, 1992 in Santa Clara, Cuba. On their fourth attempt to escape from Cuba, he and his mother succeeded in escaping to Mexico and made their way to Tampa where they met up with his father who had arrived two years prior. Fernandez was 15 at the time.

Fernandez leaves behind a girlfriend who is expecting the couple’s first child.

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