Jose Fer­nan­dez, 24

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

Maybe it’s best to re­mem­ber the suc­ces­sion of bat­ters flail­ing at his pitches; his Cuban grand­mother in the stands; the ex­u­ber­ance of him pound­ing the dugout rail­ing; and the pure and sim­ple joy of base­ball.

But other images are just as in­deli­ble: his No. 16 carved into the pitch­ing mound dirt in his honor; the trum­pet’s haunt­ing notes of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Jose Fer­nan­dez fled Cuba by boat at age 15, mak­ing a suc­cess­ful es­cape on his fourth at­tempt. But as the sea proved a start­ing point to star­dom, so it was the fin­ish. On a Septem­ber night af­ter a game, Fer­nan­dez and two friends died when their boat crashed at high speed into rocks near Miami Beach. The med­i­cal ex­am­iner would rule al­co­hol and co­caine were in his sys­tem.

Fer­nan­dez was twice an All-Star for the Miami Marlins and had a 38-17 record in four sea­sons. He was NL rookie of the year in 2013, with a fu­ture pos­si­bly pointed to Coop­er­stown.

“Sadly,” Marlins owner Jef­frey Lo­ria said, “the bright­est lights are of­ten the ones that ex­tin­guish the fastest.”

Miami start­ing pitcher Jose Fer­nan­dez was twice an All­Star for the Marlins and had a 38-17 record in four sea­sons. He was NL rookie of the year in 2013. The As­so­ci­ated Press

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