The sporting world lost two legends this past week with Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández and professional golfer Arnold Palmer both passing away on Sunday Sept. 25. Although they were at different points in their lives and careers, each gave the fans a show when they stepped onto the field and green. Fernández was a promising pitching prospect from Cuba, who officially became a United States citizen in 2015. He was selected 14th overall in the Major League Baseball draft in 2011 and went on to be named National League Rookie of the Year in 2013.
Many analysts and reporters called him “the next big thing” to happen to baseball. But on Sunday he died in a boating accident off the coast of Miami Beach. Lorenzo Veloz, spokesman of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said that speed played a factor. When they arrived on the scene at about 3 a.m., the Coast Guard said the boat was overturned and all three of the boaters had passed away.
The Marlins cancelled their game that night and also decided they would retire Fernández’s #16 jersey in honor of his memory.
Arnold Palmer also passed away on Sunday in Pittsburgh. The 87-year-old has long been known as a golf legend, with 95 professional wins in the duration of his 52-year career. He won golf’s biggest tournament, the Masters, four times and is tied for second in Professional Golfers’ Association championship wins with three.
On top of being a great golfer, Palmer was also a savvy businessman. He was known as a top golf course designer, having designed courses all over the world. He also branded the drink “Arnold Palmer,” which is a combination of iced tea and lemonade. As if this wasn’t enough, Palmer was also a pilot, having flown almost 20,000 hours of flight time over the course of nearly 55 years.
Needless to say, the world weeps for the loss of these two great athletes. No matter the cause and no matter the age, any time an athlete of this magnitude passes away is cause for grief. But to have two in the same day? Simply unimaginable.
Going forward, we will always have the legacy they left behind, and we will never forget what they did for their respective sports. Rest in peace to Fernández and Palmer.