OMG! When I heard this, I was stunned and shocked. Fernandez died so young at 24 yo and so talented. Three people died in this tragic mishap early Sunday morning.
“The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez,” the team said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”
Sunday’s Marlins-Braves game at Marlins Stadium was canceled following the news, the team statement announced. Fernandez was originally scheduled to pitch on Sunday, but had his start pushed back to Monday.
Multiple sources reported and confirmed the news on Sunday morning including Ken Rosenthal, and Marlins beat writer Clark Spencer. According to WFOR-TV in Miami, authorities were notified of the accident at about 3 a.m.:
This morning's scene of fatal boating accident that killed Jose Fernandez. Photo: MiamiDadeFire #breaking pic.twitter.com/uQaqVVeh7i— liz roldan (@lizroldancbs4) September 25, 2016
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred issued the following statement Sunday:
“All of Baseball is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández. He was one of our game’s great young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field since his debut in 2013. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he touched in his life.”
Fernandez had been one of the MLB’s most captivating young pitchers since his debut in 2013, when he won the NL Rookie of the Year. His 2014 and 2015 seasons were cut short because of Tommy John surgery, but Fernandez returned to his ace form this year. His 16-8 record, 2.86 ERA and 253 strikeouts (second in baseball) made him one of the candidates for NL Cy Young. In what will be final MLB performance, Fernandez threw eight shutout innings on Tuesday night, striking out 12 and allowing just three hits against the first-place Washington Nationals.
Also captivating was his story. Fernandez was born in Cuba and successfully defected when he was 15, his third attempt to leave the country. That, too, was also tragic. In their escape from Cuba, his mother had fallen off the boat they were on and young Jose swam 60 feet in chopping waves to save her. He carried her to the boat on his back.
Fernandez eventually took up residence in Florida, where he became a baseball star Braulio Alonso High School in Tampa and an eventual first-round pick by the Marlins in the 2011 draft. He became a U.S. citizen in 2015.