Jose Fernandez connected with children, charities

MIAMI (WSVN) - Jose Fernandez’s death over the weekend resonated beyond the sports world, to children and charities he connected with off the field.

A few years ago, the Marlins pitcher gave a signed baseball cap to Sabrina Meador, starting a friendship that Sabrina and her family treasured.

“My dear Jose, I miss you, I love you,” Sabrina said Monday.

Sabrina’s mother Olga said Jose had a simple explanation for his friendship with Sabrina.

“Just gives her happiness, me meeting her is so simple that I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it as much as I can,” Olga said.

He greeted her with flowers one time, and Sabrina even got to throw out the first pitch at a Marlins game once.

“To: Sabrina, Love You,” Fernandez signed on a baseball for Sabrina, along with his name.

Fernandez also gave his time and money to a childhood cancer foundation, the Live Like Bella Foundation, in memory of a girl he never met.

Raymond Rodriguez-Torres’s then-4-year-old daughter Bella died in 2007. He remembered how Fernandez helped their foundation.

“Certainly he was brilliant on the field, but the things he did off the field… Behind that infectious smile, was a heart that was so giving, especially for children battling cancer,” Bella’s father Rodriguez-Torres said, “and his heart is tremendous and we’re certainly devastated by his loss.”

“When people say we’ve lost more than a baseball player, its definitely, definitely true.”

“I pray with him, I miss him, I love him, I love you,” Sabrina said.

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