José Fernández’s story ultimately had a tragic ending, but his life in baseball was something to behold and to celebrate.
On this day 10 years ago, the talented right-hander made his Major League Baseball debut. It didn’t result in a win for the Miami Marlins, but it wasn’t for the lack of effort on Fernández’s part.
In a 4-3 loss to the New York Mets at Citi Field, the big stage of the Big Apple was hardly too big for Fernández. He left with a lead that unfortunately did not hold up.
The native of Cuba was perfect the first time through the order, which included striking out the side in the second inning. Scoreless through four innings, the Mets finally got to Fernández on an RBI double from Anthony Recker in the fifth inning. The 20-year-old rookie was able to bounce back by striking out Marlon Byrd before getting Collin Cowgill to pop out to end the threat.
In five innings, Fernández yielded just the run on three hits and one walk. He struck out eight in his debut, including five swinging.
With the help of RBI doubles from Justin Ruggiano, Chris Valaika and Donovan Solano, Fernández exited with a 3-1 lead. The Mets drew to within one on a solo home run from Daniel Murphy in the sixth before winning the game on a walk-off two-run single from Byrd in the ninth.
Although Fernández wasn’t a winner in his debut, victories were common for the rookie in 2013, even if they weren’t for the Marlins. While the team finished 62-100, Fernández finished 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA. In the process, he was named an All-Star and earned National League Rookie of the Year honors.
In four years, Fernández went 38-17 and was a two-time All-Star before a scrutinized boating accident tragically ended the life of Fernández, Emilio Macias and Eduardo Rivero. Fernandez was just 24 years old, leaving behind friends, family, teammates and memories. His big-league debut came on this day a decade ago.