NEW YORK -- As far as All-Star debuts go, there arent many pitchers in the history of the game who put on the type of show Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez did Tuesday night at Citi Field in the American Leagues 3-0 victory.
In fact, only two others did Dwight Gooden and Bob Feller. Thats the company the 20-year-old Cuban defector joined in the sixth inning when he sandwiched strikeouts of former MVP Dustin Pedroia and current major-league home run leader Chris Davis around getting Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera to pop out.
Gooden and Feller, two of the top 50 strikeout kings in the history of the game, are the only other players to manage to do that before their 21st birthday.
Dangerous group of hitters there, Fernandez posted on his Twitter account moments after exiting the game. I felt like I was going to throw 110.
Fernandez, who wore bright orange shoes with his Twitter handle on them, didnt hit 110 on the radar gun. But he came close.
On the big stage just a few months after he was surprised to make the jump from Single A to the big league team on Opening Day, he hit 98 mph three times on the radar gun against Cabrera, a former Marlin. His strikeouts came on a 96-mph two-seamer at the knees against Pedroia and then a nasty curveball against Davis, who has slugged 37 homers this season.
In all, only five pitchers have made an All-Star appearance before their 21st birthday. Fernando Valenzuela and Jerry Walker are the others.
Its an honor to be mentioned with those guys, Fernandez said.
Earlier in the day, Fernandez reached into his locker Tuesday afternoon at Citi Field and pulled out a white Marlins jersey to show a friend.
This wasnt any ordinary jersey, though. It had the autographs of every All-Star in the National League clubhouse on the back of it, a special keepsake the 20-year old rookie said he planned on putting in a frame and on a wall up in his house.
I got a bat autographed, too, Fernandez said with a smile on his face. Its been amazing just to be here talking to all these guys.
The second-youngest player and the only rookie at this years All-Star Game, Fernandez spent his first 48 hours in New York busy conducting interviews in both English and Spanish, and signing tons and tons of autographs himself.
Its been crazy nothing but signing and talking, signing and talking a lot of stuff to sign, Fernandez said. But Im not complaining. Im thrilled to be here.
Fernandez, the youngest Cuban-born player in baseball history to earn an All-Star nod, said he had a great time Monday catching up with fellow Cuban defectors Aroldis Chapman and Yoenis Cespedes. They stayed on the field talking even after the National League had already completed its pregame workout.
Fernandez said he didnt know either until this trip to New York, but he had heard about their big-time talent while he was growing up in Cuba. Their stories of defection, though, werent nearly as harrowing as his.
Chapman, 25, and now a two-time All-Star for the Reds, walked out on the Cuban National Team during a tournament in the Netherlands in 2009. Cespedes, who received a special invite to the All-Star Game for the Home Run Derby and edged out Bryce Harper to win it Monday night, fled Cuba with his family for the Dominican Republic in 2011. Hes now 27.