The Hot Corner with Mooda: Bigger than Baseball


Scott Mountz, SPEAR, Columnist

This week, the sports world is mourning the loss of a young star pitcher for the Miami Marlins. Jose Fernandez, 24, died early Sunday morning in a horrific boating accident off the coast of Miami. The Cuban-American was scheduled to pitch on Sunday at a home game versus the Atlanta Braves, however this game was cancelled after hearing the tragic news.

Jose Fernandez and his story was one that represented faith, love, and hope beyond baseball.

— Scott Mountz

Jose Fernandez and his story was one that represented faith, love, and hope beyond baseball. Those around Jose would say he had a contagious smile, a fiery passion for his job as a pitcher, and an immeasurable love for his teammates and family. I, being a huge baseball fan and player, knew that Jose Fernandez was a player that truly did love the sport, and could care less about the money.

Fernandez was fifteen when he made his first attempt to flee Cuba and enter the United States. After three unsuccessful attempts, the Cuban phenom defected to the US in 2008. Along his journey, stories emerged where Fernandez’s character comes into account. One of these accounts includes Jose saving a woman from drowning, who turned out to be his mom. This shows the kind of guy Jose Fernandez was; a man that would risk his own life for the safety of others. Family friends said Jose would infect those around him with his smile and passion for life.

After Fernandez defected in the US, Jose and his family settled in Tampa  and lived with his step father through high school. As a sophomore, Fernandez lit up the radar gun with a 94 mph fastball and led his high school to two state championships.

Fernandez was selected by the Miami Marlins in the 14th overall pick in the first round of the 2011 MLB draft. No. 16 plowed his way through the minor leagues pitching a combined no hitter with 158 strikeouts on the season. Fernandez was also selected to play in the All-Star Futures game where he pitched two no hit innings.

In his rookie year, Fernandez caught the attention of baseball fans around the world with his powerful fastball and dominant curveball. Miami began to fall in love with the rising star as he earned his trip to the All Star game his rookie year along with the prestigious Rookie of the Year Award. Fernandez made his mark amongst new stars in the league along with earning a starting job as the Marlins ace pitcher.

Looking back at the amazing career of Jose Fernandez I sit and wonder what more Jose could have contributed to the league. He was one of the most predominant faces of Miami sports and contributed to more than the fair share of charities. Fernandez was a leader in the famous ALS ice bucket challenge, along with a huge contribution to youth baseball across the country.

Jose Fernandez played the game of baseball with pure joy, and will be missed by all that were blessed enough to be around him. Teammates, friends, family, and any fans of sports will remember the legacy that Jose left. Rest in paradise No. 16, you will be greatly missed, and never forgotten.