An Icon Lost Too Early

Players and fans all around baseball watch with heavy hearts as the shocking and sudden news of Jose Fernandez’s death hit the headlines early Sunday morning. The 24 year-old was involved in a boating accident, where all three people on the boat were killed. Fernandez’s death was a shock to players around the league, who have been speaking out about the impact he left on them personally. Not only did Fernandez influence other major league players, but he left lasting impacts on fans all around baseball, including myself.

Fernandez was the next big thing. At the ripe age of 24 years old, Fernandez had already been named to two All Star teams and won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2013. The sky was the limit for the young fire-baller. His ability to pound the corners of the strike zone with his fastball and put batters away with his sharp slider was unlike any other pitcher in the league. Watching Fernandez out on the mound was a work of art. Fernandez was a fiery competitor who wouldn’t back down from anybody. As a fan you loved to watch him, as long as he wasn’t pitching against your team.

Of course baseball comes secondary when talking about Jose Fernandez. Not only was Fernandez a stud on the mound but he was an inspiration to many players and fans. In 2007, Fernandez defected from Cuba with his mother and sister, after three unsuccessful attempts that landed him in a Cuban prison. Fernandez and his family finally made it to the United States where he could live out his dream to become a Major League baseball player. Fernandez’s story is full of endless amounts of obstacles, but he persevered against all odds. Fernandez and I don’t have much in common. Fernandez is a freak athlete, handsome, and making millions of dollars. I blog, live at home with my parents and eat my own boogers. Even with the differences, Fernandez has influenced me tremendously. His story shows perseverance and courageousness, something that I hope to take into my everyday life.

Like I stated previously, Fernandez’s baseball career comes secondary to the person he was on and off the field. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him pitch. He gave everything he had into every single pitch, like it was his last. You could tell that it wasn’t the money that motivated him to play but the love and beauty of the game. When the camera panned to him in the dugout he was always smiling, joking around with teammates, or watching the game intently. From the reactions of the players and the Miami Marlins front office, you can clearly see the impact he left.

Jeffrey Loria, the owner of the Miami Marlins, stated the other day that nobody else will wear Jose Fernandez’s number 16 again. The loss of their ace will leave a lasting impact on the Marlins franchise. Fernandez brought fans to the games and brought baseball back to the city of Miami.

At the age of 24, Fernandez changed the game of baseball. He filled the sport with life and emotion. If the MLB was filled with 750 Jose Fernandez’s then we would have a perfect league. Fernandez exemplified everything that you want in a ballplayer. He was humble, charitable, talented, and most of all an amazing teammate. Baseball will continue to be played and time will move on but the loss of one of baseball’s greats will never be forgotten.

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