MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s going to be an emotional day for the Miami Marlins and for many around baseball.
Former Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez will be on the minds of his family and countless ballplayers on Monday as they recognize the one-year anniversary of his tragic passing.
One year ago on September 25th, Fernandez and friends Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Macias died after his boat, the Kaught Looking, crashed into a jetty off Miami Beach.
Monday morning Fernandez’s mother and members of his family went back to the jetty to spray messages of love on the rocks and release balloons into the sky.
“Today is a very hard day for the whole family. But the mother, the daily struggles that she’s been going through,” said family friend Iliana de la Cruz. “I’m at a loss for words.”
Just 24 years old, Fernandez had a future ahead of him brighter than most before it was gone in the blink of an eye.
Now his life, once filled with so much happiness and promise, is a cautionary tale for other young and talented athletes trying to make their way in big cities with bigger bank accounts.
The Marlins have worn patches bearing Fernandez’s number 16 on their jerseys all season and have kept him fresh in their minds.
Jose’s old locker in Miami’s clubhouse has been transformed into a memorial.
Fernandez, who always had a smile on his face and seemed to genuinely enjoy life, brought out the best in Miami and it did the same for him.
His record at Marlins Park was nothing short of spectacular, going 29-2 with a 1.49 ERA during his career.
Some of the messages that his family spray painted on the jetty rocks Monday morning included “We love you and we won’t forget you, ever” and “Penelope loves you, mom loves you, grandma loves you and we miss you.”
Penelope, Fernandez’s daughter, was born on February 24th of this year.