Pedro Martínez spoke today on TBS about the death of José Fernández, and how he imagines it feels for Fernández’s family.


The Hall of Famer spoke enthusiastically about Fernández as a ballplayer, calling him “a better talent than I was.” But he spoke mostly about the tragedy of how Fernández’s family had looked to him to begin a better life after he and his mother dramatically defected from Cuba. (Fernández became an American citizen in April, 2015.)

More than anything I understand really how the family must be feeling about losing this young baby, probably one of the best arms that was ever gonna play in the game. The hopes that they had, so many people looking up to him to open that door to finally make it to a better life, it’s really difficult for us to swallow. I thank God that I was able to bring that back home and not have that happen to me as a young age, but for this family, it’s devastating.

“It’s hard for me to believe that this day is going on,” Martínez said.