Since Felix was discovered as a prospect he has had a very real and very meaningful relationship with the Seattle Mariners.
After he graduated from high school in Venezuela at age 16, he signed with the Mariners on the 4th of July, 2002. He received a $710,000 signing bonus– and the Mariners weren’t even the highest bidder in the MLB.
The Yankees, the Astros, and the Braves were all in on Felix, and the Braves were reported to have been the highest bidder.
So why did King Felix sign with Seattle? There are a number of reasons.
First and foremost Mariners Director of International Operations Bob Engle and his staff cultivated a relationship with Felix and his family. The Hernandez family trusted the Mariners and their plans for Felix. He felt like he was going to be a part of the Mariners family– which sounds eerily like something some other guy said after signing with the Mariners for $240 million this offseason.
The other big reason he chose Seattle was because fellow Venezuelan, and his personal idol, Freddy Garcia was still pitching for the Mariners back in 2002.
Then, on August 4th, 2005, Felix made his Major League debut at age 19. From that day on, he has become something special not only to baseball, but to a fan base desperate for success.