Fernández was the youngest Cuban-born player to debut as an All-Star, and received many athletic honors in his short life. He had defected from Cuba to the U.S. at 15, and saved his mother from drowning when she fell overboard during that crossing.
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He was expecting his first child at the time of his death; a post on the pitcher's Instagram showed his pregnant girlfriend cupping her baby bump and was captioned, "I'm so glad you came into my life. I'm ready for where this journey is gonna take us together. #familyfirst".