Felix Hernandez and the Power of a Superstar

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Jul 13, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; The King

Every sport has superstars. In basketball there are guys like Kobe and LeBron. In football the Peyton Manning’s, the Tom Brady’s, the Richard Sherman’s.

They can quickly and pervasively become the faces of the sport. The apple of the media’s eye. The real attention-getters.

In baseball it is an entirely different beast.

Sure there are baseball legends like Derek Jeter and supermodel-dating pitchers like Justin Verlander. But in the world of baseball the superstar status– and the marketability of that status– is married to the team.

Guys who stay with one team for a whole career– like Edgar Martinez did in Seattle and Cal Ripken, Jr. in Baltimore– establish themselves as someone supreme in their cities, with their fans.

It is so rare for a player to stay with one team for their whole career, even when they are a superstar and their brand, their image, is so entrenched in that uniform (Ichiro Suzuki and Albert Pujols, anyone?).

As of today, for the Seattle Mariners, there is a player who has that superstar status across the game, and that marketability in his local fanbase. That man is, of course, King Felix Hernandez.

His power as a superstar has buoyed the sinking ship that has been the Mariners in recent seasons. His likability as a player, as a person, has already made him a legend in Seattle.