What Happened to Jose Fernandez?

March 19, 2024

Fans who gathered at Marlins Park Sunday to remember Fernandez stood in the shade outside the stadium and leaned on each other. It was hard to believe it had been more than four years since he ripped the roof off Marlins Park with his 100-mph fastball and ruthless curveball. It was the kind of performance that made baseball feel visceral and shared, like a jolt that went straight to your soul. It was an experience that drew people together, and it impacted teams. It impacted the Yankees, who added Giancarlo Stanton and paired him with Aaron Judge to form one of baseball’s most fearsome combinations. It impacted the Brewers, who acquired Ozuna and added the speed of Dee Gordon to their already stacked team. It impacted the Red Sox, who could’ve signed Fernandez to help them overcome their long playoff drought.

The death of the 24-year-old pitcher has left the Marlins, his family and the South Florida community asking the same question: What if?

On the night of his death, Fernandez was riding along with two friends, Emilio Jesus Macias and Eduardo Rivero, in a boat that crashed into a jetty off the coast of Miami Beach. An FWC report found the three men were ejected from the vessel, which was traveling at an excessively high rate of speed and entered a dangerous area. The families of Macias and Rivero, who are suing the Fernandez estate, allege that cocaine was in his system at the time of the accident.

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