Mariners News: Happy 29th Birthday Felix Hernandez!


It is hard to believe that Felix Hernandez is 29-years-old. He has been a regular for the Seattle Mariners since 2005, and in some ways I always imagine he is in his early to mid 30’s. On the other hand, Hernandez was just 19-years-old when he made his big league debut, and much like Ken Griffey Jr., I always think of King Felix as the youngster in the M’s starting rotation.

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King Felix is the best hurler in Mariners’ history. I was hesitant to put Hernandez ahead of Randy Johnson in years past, but over the past 7 seasons he has ascended to the throne. Felix has pitched over 2000 innings across 11 seasons in a Mariners’ uniform. He has pitched at least 190 innings in a single season 9 times, and he has tallied 200 innings in 7 consecutive years. Hernandez’s 3.07 career ERA is tied for the best in franchise history, and his 126 career victories rank 3rd all time in Mariners’ history. His 8.54 strikeouts per 9 innings are 2nd in franchise history, and his 2.49 walks per 9 innings are 5th best. King Felix has allowed just 1.167 walks/hits per inning during his time in the Emerald City, good for 2nd in Mariners’ history.

The Mariners’ ace has represented Seattle at 5 All Star Games, and has finished in the top 4 in Cy Young voting 4 separate times. King Felix took home the Cy Young Award in 2010 when he was just 24 years of age. Hernandez went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA across 249.2 innings pitched. He pitched 6 complete games in ’10, and allowed a league low 7.0 hits per 9 innings.

King Felix pitched the first perfect game in Mariners’ history on August 15, 2012 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field in Seattle. Felix has no hit stuff every time he steps on the mound, and I would not be surprised if he hurls another perfect game in 2015 in front of the rabid fans in King’s Court.

2014 was arguably Felix’s best as a big leaguer. He went 15-6, and posted a career low 2.14 ERA across 236.0 innings pitched. King Felix tied his career high by punching out 9.5 hitters per 9 innings, and walked a career low 1.8 per 9 innings. He allowed a league low 0.915 walks/hits per inning. He set an MLB record by pitching at least 7 innings and allowing 2 earned runs or less in 17 consecutive outings. It is mystifying that Hernandez was not crowned the American League Cy Young winner last season. There simply is no justification for snubbing King Felix after he was so dominant last summer.

Mariners’ fans have been treated to some of the most charismatic superstars in all of baseball over the past 20 seasons. From Griffey to Edgar Martinez to Jay Buhner to Randy Johnson to Ichiro Suzuki, the Mariners have always played the game with joy and enthusiasm. Felix Hernandez has picked up right where these players left off, showing him to be a natural entertainer and a brilliant pitcher. He has been featured in many memorable Mariners’ commercials over the past decade, and he has entrenched himself as a fan favorite.

King Felix has proven to be a clutch performer during his 11 seasons in Seattle. The Mariners are currently riding a remarkable 9 game winning streak on Opening Day games; Felix has started 8 of those contests. Hernandez was electric on Monday afternoon at Safeco Field against the Los Angeles Angels. Felix had 10 strikeouts across 7 innings while allowing just 1 run on 2 hits. The Mariners were still eligible for the postseason in game 162 of last season, and Felix pitched the game of his life with the season hanging in the balance. Hernandez struck out 7 across 5.1 shutout innings. He was nearly unhittable, and would have gone much further into the game had the Mariners not already been eliminated from playoff contention.

I cannot wait to see King Felix toe the rubber in the postseason, and I think we all have the sense that this could be the year it finally happens. He is a proven performer in tense situations, and I truly believe he will flourish under the bright lights of playoff baseball.

We all bow down to you King Felix on your very special day. Happy Birthday to the King!


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