José Fernández remembered in video from All-Star Game

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A week ago Major League Baseball, The Miami Marlins and especially the Fernández Family, suffered a great loss when the Marlins’ young starting pitcher, José Fernández, lost his life in a boating accident.

The Cuban refugee had lit up the major leagues with his pitching. This season his ERA was 2.86 and his record was 16-8 with 253 strike-outs. José Fernández was a rising star in professional sports. Baseball pundits loved his fastball, but agree his curveball was his best, most dangerous pitch. It has been compared to the curveball of Dodgers great Sandy Koufax. José Fernández was destined to be one of the great pitchers of Major League Baseball.

Boston Red Sox DH David “Big Papi” Ortiz
Boston Red Sox DH David “Big Papi” Ortiz

He shut down lineups that are now heading to the MLB postseason.

Fernández and his family tried escaping from Cuba three times before they made it to the U.S. As a result of trying and not making it, Fernández spent time in prison with adults.

When the family did make it to the United States, a clandestine trip that saw them set sail for Mexico and then cross the border into Texas, his mother fell out of the boat and the 16-year old José jumped in to save her. He was a special young man, on and off the field. Once in the U.S., the first jersey Fernández bought was that of Ortiz. He saw Big Papi hit a homerun for Team Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic and Ortiz became his favorite player.

Once in professional baseball, Fernández began making friends around the league. His greatest asset, for many, was his 100-watt smile and consistently positive attitude and demeanor. He made a lot of friends everywhere.

Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers, himself a refugee from Cuba, was friends with Fernández. Puig wept when he spoke to the media about Fernández. Another of his friends was Boston Red Sox DH David “Big Papi” Ortiz — his hero. Both played in the 2016 MLB All-Star Game at Petco Park in San Diego, CA.

According to both Ortiz and Fernández they had arranged for the pitcher to throw nothing but fastballs if Ortiz came to the plate when the pitcher was on the mound.

Dodgers Outfielder Yasiel Puig
Dodgers Outfielder Yasiel Puig

Fishing was one of his passions, so when Marlins manager Don Mattingly pushed his start from Sunday, September 25 to the following Monday, to accommodate the return of pitcher Adam Conley who had been on the disabled list and to give Fernández another day’s rest after a long outing, the young pitcher decided to go fishing Saturday night, early Sunday morning. His 32-foot boat hit a jetty on Miami Beach, with “severe impact,” killing Fernandez and two of his friends.

Below is a video of both Big Papi Ortiz and José Fernández talking about their moment in the spotlight, in the third inning of the 2016 MLB All-Star Game. Both laughed about it, but everyone there at Petco Park knew it was the meeting of greats; one about to retire and the other just getting his All-Star career started.

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In related news: The San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, to earn a spot in the National League Wild Card Game October 5 in New York against the Mets. Two years ago the Giants won a wild card game on the road and then proceeded to win, taking the World Series to seven games against the Kansas City Royals, winning game 7 on the road in Kansas City.

Photos and video by Claudia Gestro