Marlins’ Superstar Jose Fernandez Dies In Boating Accident

Former Tampa High School star is dead at 24 after boating accident

MIAMI –  At about 3 AM, Miami police received a call about a possible boating accident. A fire rescue crew who responded to the accident found three people dead and a 30-foot boat was overturned after hitting the rocks.

Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was among those found dead. He was 24 years old.

He was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, then Fernandez came to the United States at fifteen years old, risking harsh punishment from the Cuban authorities for defecting. He relocated to Tampa, where he learned to speak English and to play baseball at the highest level.

Fernandez went to Braulio Alonso High in Tampa, and starred there as a baseball player, twice being part of state championship teams there for the Ravens. He threw two no-hitters in his senior year, an impressive enough high school career to make him a first round draft pick for the Marlins in 2011.

His 2013 rookie season was an immediate success. Fernandez made the National League All Star team that year, and had some jaw-dropping performances in the second half with Miami. It was more than his arm that got attention, though, as his personality was infectious. People who don’t typically follow the Marlins were first introduced to Jose Fernandez as a big-smiling young ace that could put up high strikeout numbers, hit better than most pitchers, and make flashy plays in the field.

In his rookie season, Fernandez threw 172.2 innings. He struck out 187 batters and posted an ERA of 2.19. That was good enough to win rookie of the year in 2013, and good enough for third place in the NL Cy Young Award race. Tommy John Surgery during the 2014 season cut into both his 2014 and 2015 seasons. This was supposed to be his triumphant return. Until this morning, it was certainly that.

This year, in a year where Clayton Kershaw has posted what many people believe to be the finest work of his already great career, Jose Fernandez led the National League in Fielding Independent Pitching, a metric favored by the stat-forward people. He posted 253 strikeouts in 182.1 innings, good for a 12.5 K/9IP ratio. He made his second All Star team.

Fernandez, death brought out a out pouring of reaction from all around baseball beginning his former Tampa Catholic rival Lance McCullers.


Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.