As a child, Jose Fernandez and his family tried to defect from Cuba three times, and three times, he was jailed.
In 2008, after a dramatic voyage where the teen rescued his mother when she fell overboard, the family finally made it to the United States.
Eight years later, in 20016, the new American citizen was Major League Baseball’s brightest young star, just 24 years old and nearing the end of the second All-Star season of his four-year career with the Miami Marlins when he was killed along with two friends as their boat flipped off Miami Beach.
The accident occurred early on a September Sunday morning — Fernandez, who had already recorded a Marlins’ season-record 253 strikeouts, was slated to pitch against the Mets the next day.
Fernandez won 38 of his 76 major league starts, pitching to a 2.58 ERA and recording 589 strikeouts in just 471 innings. He was most at home in Miami, where he owned an astounding 29-2 record.