5 Ways For Miami Marlins and MLB To Honor Pitcher Jose Fernandez
How To Honor Jose Fernandez After Tragic Death
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Major League Baseball lost a young star in Jose Fernandez who was on the fast track to becoming a Hall of Fame pitcher and an icon for Cubans and the city of Miami. Fernandez not only struck out 31.2 percent of the batters he faced, which is the highest for any pitcher ever, but the way he played the game and the joy he brought to the ballpark made him one of the more likable players in the league despite being just 24 years old. The tragic boating accident has rocked the sporting world like nothing I’ve ever seen, and the pain for the South Florida community is magnified given so many can relate to his story.
So, how do the Miami Marlins and MLB honor Fernandez to make sure his legacy never dies?
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Besides the fish retiring his No. 16, which was announced will already be done, here are five ideas to consider.
Jose Fernandez Award - The same way the MLB introduced the Roberto Clemente Award after his tragic death, we can have an award for Fernandez. The first thing everybody brings up when talking about the young pitcher is how much fun he had on the diamond and how much he enjoyed life. It might be time for a spirit award that is given to the best player who brings that same excitement and passion to the game. Baseball is slowly turning a new page where the sport is no longer a bunch of old men screaming to play the right way. Instead, we're seeing an influx of youth where younger players are bringing that flair and happiness to the sport. The Jose Fernandez Award would be the perfect honor for the pitcher who had the heart of a little leaguer.
Consideration for the Hall of Fame - The MLB Hall of Fame has a rule where eligible players have to play at least 10 seasons. Fernandez started just 76 games, not even completing four full seasons. So, while this may be a longshot, there’s zero doubt he would have been inducted had he been able to finish his career. Just turning 24 in July, Fernandez produced 589 career strikeouts, becoming the fastest player in history to rack up 500 Ks. His strikeout percentage is the highest in sport history and his FIP (fielding independent pitching) of 2.43 is the best ever in the live-ball era. Not to mention he won Rookie of the Year and was an all-star both years in the two full seasons he played. We’re not even going to talk about his 29-2 record at home with a 1.49 ERA, which is also the best home ERA for any pitcher in baseball history. Oh, there’s also the human side of things where integrity and representing the sport come into play. The Internet has already done a wonderful job of touching that. Overall, Fernandez makes a case for the HOF to bend the rules in this case.
Statue Outside Marlins Park - This is really a no brainer, as Fernandez is easily the best pitcher in Marlins history despite such a short career, and he was on pace to being one of the best ever. Fernandez also was Miami given his story and background. Despite Marlins’ fans being screwed by slimy ownership time and time again, people showed up to watch Fernandez pitch and could relate to him. I would go as far as to say a statute should be revealed by the time the 2017 season arrives.
Play Like Jose - Stop caring so much about a bat flip or a guy pimping a home run. Stop crying because a guy stepped on the pitcher's mound when running back to the dugout. Show emotion when you get a big base hit to give your team the lead. It’s OK. It’s what Jose would have done. At the end of the day, it’s a game. It’s also not guaranteed you’ll be around to enjoy it tomorrow. Want to really honor Jose, ease up on the unwritten rules and show us your inner little leaguer. Play like Jose.
JDF16 Foundation - The family of Fernandez created the JDF16 Foundation. Click Here To Check It Out.