WATCH: Marco Rubio's Moving Tribute to Communist Refugee and MLB Pitcher Killed in Accident
See video of Se. Rubio's tribute here: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2016/09/28/video-marco-rubios-moving-tribute-to-allstar-pitcher-killed-in-boating-accident-n2224943?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl&newsletterad=
As a young man, Fernandez and his family attempted to defect from Communist Cuba on multiple occasions. At 14, he was jailed after his third escape attempt. He finally completed the treacherous journey, but not before saving his own mother from drowning in choppy seas. Years later, he called becoming a US citizen one of his proudest accomplishments. "I consider myself now to be free," he said. "I thank this amazing country for giving me the opportunity to go to school here and learn the language and pitch in the major leagues. It’s an honor to be a part of this country, and I respect it so much." My friend Mary Katharine Ham wrote about Fernandez on Monday, noting his passion not just for the game, but for the incredible gift of liberty:
Five days before he died, Fernandez posted a black and white photo of his girlfriend on the beach, cradling an obvious baby bump. The caption read, “I’m so glad you came into my life. I’m ready for where this journey is gonna take us together. #familyfirst.”
Fernandez understood, more than most, what it meant to have his whole family here, in one place. One can only imagine the joy he would have taken in growing that family in the country he loved. Before he died, he left his teammates with a thought about freedom, something he often tossed around in the locker room. Usually a sunny jokester, this was more of an admonition than a celebration: “You were born into freedom. You don’t understand freedom, really.”Descansa en paz.