During her campaign rally in Coral Springs, Florida on Friday, Hillary Clinton briefly spoke about former Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández. Fernández, 24, was one of three people who died in a tragic boating accident off the coast of Miami Beach this past Sunday. As the city of Miami continues to mourn the loss of Fernández, who was laid to rest Thursday in a private funeral service, Clinton discussed his journey from Cuba to the United States, and his pursuit of a better life for himself, and his family.
“You know when he left Cuba, he did not speak a word of English. He did not let that stop him. He pursued his dreams," Clinton told the crowd. "He wanted to and he became one of the best baseball players that Miami has ever seen and he never forgot where he came from." Following three failed attempts to defect to the U.S., one of which landed him in a prison in Cuba for a year, Fernández and his mother, Maritza, took a different route, and went to Mexico. While their fourth attempt was a success, it was still met with some adversity when Martiza fell out of the boat, leaving a 15-year-old José to dive into the water to save her.
"He worked hard to give back to the community that had given so much to him," Clinton said. "Jose's life really embodied the American dream and at just 24 years of age, he was getting started." In just four years in the MLB, Fernández had already established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball, winning the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year award with his mother, and grandmother, Olga, by his side.
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