You were family to me…my heart is hurting wishing you would just burst through the clubhouse doors any second now late like always laughing telling me how many red and yellow snapper you caught last night…you were always happy and kept the biggest smile on your face…you may have rubbed people who didn’t get to know you the wrong way at times but I always had your back no matter what and didn’t never let you get in any of those brawls…last Sunday when you came to chapel with me is crazy now bc you said you needed to go…you just told me that your last game was “the best game I ever pitched in my life” and it was your last…I don’t know if God was calling you last Sunday and made you decide to come to chapel or helped you pitch your best game but I do know I love you and I’m so hurt to see my brother go…I know I’m being selfish but you weren’t just a teammate to me…you were family…I love you Josey!!! Long Live YOU FOREVER!!!! Rest In Peace my brother I hope you and God catch the biggest fish heaven has to offer. #JDF16FOREVER
- Teammate Dee Gordon -Source
"He would always tell me that. 'You were born in to freedom. You don't understand freedom, really,' was his famous line he said so many times to many of us."
The baseball world was rocked Sunday morning with the news that Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was dead at the age of 24.
Fernandez was one of three killed when their boat struck a jetty and overturned. Their bodies were discovered by the Coast Guard around 3:15 a.m. Sunday.
"It's been a tough day for everyone," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said during a Sunday afternoon news conference that included Marlins players, team president David Samson and manager Don Mattingly. "Everyone reflects on their history with Jose. I think back to seeing that precocious, young high school senior in the All-Star Game and sitting at his kitchen table as we attempted to sign him.
Hill then broke down in tears, as did others while speaking about Fernandez. Marlins pitcher Mike Dunn held a Fernandez jersey.
A tearful Mattingly cited the joy with which Fernandez played.#JoseFernandez #Marlins pic.twitter.com/Hpjxn0OiEL— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) September 25, 2016
"When he pitched, as bad as he would make you (look) with some of the stuff he would do, you'd just see that little kid you see when you watch kids play Little League," Mattingly said. "That's the joy Jose played with and the passion he felt about playing."
"Jose had some many fans, not just here in Miami, but in Cuba and around the country," Samson said. "He was a model for Cuban-Americans and for all people who need to work harder than most to have freedom. He represented freedom in a way most no one can understand when you're born in freedom.
"He would always tell me that. 'You were born in to freedom. You don't understand freedom, really,' was his famous line he said so many times to many of us.
"To all those fans, what Jose would want is for everybody who loved him to just make sure you always remember him and what he stood for. Tell the story to your kids and to your grandkids about what it is to fight for freedom, about what it is to fight for what you believe in and to do what's right, no matter what the obstacles are.
Fernandez was one the best pitchers in baseball and had a promising career ahead of him. He was a first-round draft pick of the Marlins in 2011, National League rookie of the year in 2013 and a two-time All-Star, including this season, which was the best of his four-year MLB career.
"We're not robots. We're humans and we feel," third baseman Martin Prado said. "He made an impact on every single person on this team in different ways. I understand the fact that we have to play games and be professional about it. There's a lot of pain. In some way, we've got to overcome that. But right now, it's hard to explain."