PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The world of baseball is mourning the passing of one of the game’s brightest young stars. 24-year-old Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez died Sunday in a boating accident off the coast of Miami. Two other men were also killed.
“He was one of the game’s great young talents,” Phillies play-by-play announcer Scott Franzke told KYW Newsradio. “Other worldly at times.”
Franzke says Jose Fernandez had rare talent, but he was also an All-Star off the field. He says there was a general fondness around the league for the 24-year-old righty.
“By all accounts, he was a great kid. A great human being. He was very genuine in everything he did and got a lot of passion and love out of the game of baseball,” Franzke said. “In the time that I met him, very respectful, very humble, very nice kid. You could tell he just kind of got it.”
Fernandez’s journey to the Miami Marlins was far from typical. The young Cuban tried multiple times to escape his homeland to play in the United States. Finally, after three failed attempts, his family settled in Tampa on the fourth try. He was drafted by the Marlins, made his MLB debut at age 20, and he was dominant from day one.
But Franzke says Fernandez had a golden heart to match his golden right arm.
“What he meant to the city of Miami, the kids of Miami. He was such a star, so looked up to,” the Phillies announcer said. “It will be a long time of hurting for the folks there with the Marlins.”
Just days before his death, Fernandez announced his girlfriend was pregnant.
“I know everybody around baseball will take a moment, more than a moment probably in some instances, to reflect on not only Jose, but on our own lives,” Franzke said.
In his career, Fernandez struck out 589 hitters in just 471 innings pitched.