It was truly tragic for me to wake up to the news of the death of José Fernández. Upon hearing the news, I immediately got up and called my dad to tell him about the news. He hadn’t heard about it, so it came as quite the shock to him as well. Fernández was the first hero and inspiration of mine to have died within my lifetime, making this sad news even tougher to take.
José had such a promising career ahead of him, one could tell simply by looking at his stats over the past few years, having such high strikeout numbers, along with never having an ERA above 3. You could simply tell by looking at him, that this kid was going to be great. He just had the look of determination in his eyes that said “I’m going to be the best.” And he was one of the best during his time on this earth. Teams feared facing him every single time out, especially when Fernández was pitching at home, a place he dominated. What I admire most about Fernández isn’t his baseball abilities, though, it’s his heart and love of life.
Right from the start, his story was touching and inspiring. José wanted nothing more than to pursue a good life in America, and nothing was going to stop him from getting here. It took José four tries to escape from Cuba, including three stints in jail. On the fourth try, he was even willing to dive into dark, cold water to rescue someone who had fallen overboard, unbeknownst to him that it was his own mother. He had such a big heart and would do anything to help a fellow human being out in a time of need. He constantly would do things for the kids in the community and loved working with the youth. An all-around class act who loved the game as much as humanly possible.
Every time out, José would give his all and do it with a smile on his face. He was always laughing and joking around with everyone, all in all having a good time playing a game that he loved dearly. His smile was infectious, and you rarely saw him without one on his face. His antics led to some of my favorite gifs ever. Moments such as him catching the comeback liner by Troy Tulowitzki, or his celebration after a go-ahead homer by Giancarlo Stanton, are the reasons why I love José Fernández. He was such a happy, good spirited person who made the game of baseball so fun to watch. He was a player loved by all of his teammates, as well as players around the league. He had a love for the game that I haven’t seen in a player in a long time. I wish I could have gotten a chance to watch him pitch in person, but sadly I was not, but I am still honored to have walked the same Earth as someone who had so much love and life in his heart.
I’m truly going to miss José Fernández. He was really something special, a player that only comes around once in a lifetime. It’s tragic that his life was taken from him so soon, tragic that he wasn’t able to show the world what he was really capable of. He was already a spectacular pitcher, but I knew that this was just the beginning of a long and prosperous career. It’s a shame that the rest of his career will never be seen. One can only speculate now as to just how good José Fernández could have been, but that’s not what is truly sad or important about this tragic moment in history. What is truly important is the fact that the world lost a great man today. Not only one who was only talented and gifted, but one who was truly a great, down to earth man. A man who loved and cared about all, and wished nothing but happiness for all of those on this great Earth.
Rest easy, José Fernández, we were all lucky to have known you. We will all miss you dearly.