Early Sunday evening, the golf world lost an icon in Arnold Palmer. Over a 51 year career as a pro, Palmer won fifty-five PGA tournaments, seven Major championships, which includes four green jackets, and ten more tournaments on the senior tour along with an innovation in the field of beverages, the Arnold Palmer. After living eighty-seven years, we can look back on his life and remember the great feats he accomplished on and off the course. Approximately twelve hours earlier down in Miami, Major League Baseball lost one of its young stars who was beyond his years. Miami Marlins ace, Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident during a fishing outing at around three in the morning. Knowing that Fernandez is gone is shocking. What he accomplished in a four year career is incredible. Fernandez is originally from Cuba. With aspirations of playing in the big leagues, he defected from Cuba after a gruesome three attempts to reach Mexico before his family eventually settled in Tampa. Jose went 14th overall in the 2012 draft and signed a $2 Million signing bonus.
When Jose was named a member of the Marlins Opening Day roster back in 2013, he was the player the team needed. The team was coming of a 2012 season full of expectations onlyto be a giant flop. The Marlins looked like a championship team, but it never worked out and the team had a giant fire sale at the deadline. Fernandez made his debut on April 7, 2013 against the Mets striking out eight batters and surrendering just one run and three hits. It was only the beginning of a banner year for Jose as he finished the season with 187 strikeouts, a 2.19 ERA, earning him the National League Rookie of the Year award and 3rd in the Cy Young Award. After shortened seasons in 2014 and 2015 due to Tommy John surgery, Jose got back on the right track. Upon his return, he used more of his secondary pitches that include a sinker, change up, and a slurve, preventing him from overworking himself with his fastball that has reached up to 101 MPH. Fernandez sat around 96 MPH, however. He made his second All Star Game back in July and pitched an inning that included one strikeout. In his last start, he faced the Washington Nationals and dominated. Fernandez went eight innings, striking out twelve batters and giving up only three hits. After a groundout to Daniel Murphy to end the inning, Jose was greeted in the dugout by an ecstatic Barry Bonds who embraced the Marlins’ young star after a dominating performance that was eventually his last big league start. Jose Fernandez was such an incredible ballplayer with such a big upside. Fernandez was going to be part of a monstrous free agency class along with Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Nolan Arenado, and Josh Donaldson. It’s heartbreaking to see this occur to an individual to play
with such joy and compassion. So many stories have surfaced on what a great person Jose was. An example is a video of him spotting a young fan, giving him an autograph, and asking the fanto sign an autograph for him. The two exchanged each other’s signature in a moment that that fan will definitely never forget. In Fernandez’s memory, I believe Comissioner Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball need to come up with a way to honor the player and person Jose was. Renaming the Rookie of the Year Award in his name would be a good idea, but it is named after the great Jackie Robinson. My suggestion given the way Jose powered through Tommy John. Surgery and dominated this season, I think the Comeback Player of the Year Award would be a perfect way to honor the 24 year old star. Next year for those who don’t know, the All Star Game will be played in Miami. To announce the new name of the award would be the right thing to do with the league’s best players and fans being present. The MLB renamed the National League Batting Title after Tony Gwynn and presented a replica of the trophy to the Gwynn family in the pregame ceremony when San Diego hosted the game.
Jose Fernandez, an incredible pitcher, gone too soon. Rest In Peace.