Jose Fernandez’ impact on Baulio Alonso High School in Tampa and the school’s baseball program was so great that his No. 16 was retired less than three years after he graduated.
Among the reasons: As a sophomore, about a year after arriving from Cuba, Fernandez retired 18 consecutive batters in the 2009 Florida championship game to help Alonso win its first state crown.
Fernandez had allowed three runs in the first inning and was dominant from there as Alonso beat Miami Columbus 4-3. Jordan Huchro came in to close out the last batter after Fernandez allowed a single and hit a batter in the seventh.
As a senior, Fernandez was more refined as a pitcher and went 13-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 93 innings. He also threw two no-hitters as Alonso again won the state title after reaching the state semifinals the previous season.
Shortly after his senior year, he was drafted by the Marlins with the 14th overall pick in 2011.
He was named National League Rookie of the Year in 2013 and had his jersey retired the next February in a ceremony attended by teachers, coaches and former teammates.
“It’s something you always got in your heart,” Fernandez, then 21, told the Tampa Bay Times of his high school.