On the 4th day of Mariners-mas, the Mariners phone started to ring, and told them prepare for The King. That’s right. Coming in at #4 on our 12 Days of Mariners-mas is the King himself, Felix Hernandez.
Yeah, I’m going to keep trying to rhyme on these. I’m a dad, it’s fun, and there’s pretty much nothing you can do to stop me.
Felix Hernandez is one of the greatest players to ever don the Mariners uniform. While we were going through our list, I was interested to hear what Connor and Andrew thought about the Felix vs Randy Johnson debate. Remember, it’s only during their time as pitcher on the Mariners. If anyone ever tells you that Felix’s career is better than Randy Johnson, you can revoke their baseball card.
When it comes to their time on just the Mariners though, Felix takes it fairly easy. A large part of that is the number of seasons that he was with the team. We haven’t been basing our rankings solely off of WAR, but Felix does have 50.3 with the Mariners compared to the Big Unit’s 39.0. Side note, Randy Johnson finished with a career WAR of 103.5. JEEZ!
Felix Hernandez was called King Felix for a reason, as he led the Mariners for a decade
Guys just don’t throw tons of innings anymore. This makes what Felix did over the first decade of his career even more impressive.
- 3.13 ERA, 25 CG, 11 SO, 322 GS, 2178 IP (218 per year), 2065 K, 1.178 WHIP, 0.7 HR/9
He was constantly going deep into games, and would average 6.76 IP per start for that 10 year stretch. Take out his age 20 and 21 seasons, and it jumps to 6.88 IP. Felix was a horse, who hardly gave up runs, and rarely gave up the long ball. He’s everything you would want in an Ace, and the Mariners had it, and squandered it, for a decade.
He’s also a part of one of the wierdest stats you will see in baseball. Have you ever taken a minute to look at the Mariners career ERA leaders?
- Felix Hernandez – 3.42
- Hisashi Iwakuma – 3.42
- Randy Johnson – 3.42
- James Paxton – 3.42
Yup. There is a four-way tie for the best ERA in team history. That blows my mind, and I always think that it’s an error everytime that I see it.
There’s more to Felix than just the numbers. He was a true Ace not just because of the ERA, the innings, or the strikeouts. It was the feeling that he brought to the mound, and you could feel it in the stadium, through the TV and radio, and even through the opposing hitters. You just knew that there was something special everytime he walked out there. A possibility not just for dominance, but for greatness. On August 15th, 2012, we got to witness the peak of such greatness.
Felix Hernandez became just the 21st player in the history of baseball to throw a perfect game. Going back and watching it (you can watch the entire thing right here), you can just see the confidence oozing off of Felix. Just now, I watched the final at-bat, and Felix breaks off a 2-0 slider.
Imagine sitting there, 9th inning, two outs, and you’re throwing a perfect game. You’re down 2-0 in the count. The worst feeling would be to walk the guy, cause that’s on you and no one else. You want to get a pitch across to get 2-1. Felix fools him with the slider. It makes sense though. I remember watching an interview with Felix, and they asked him which of his five pitches was his best one. The answer…
“All of them”.
Mariners fans are lucky to have had the opportunity and privelage to watch Felix Hernandez for so long. He’s one of the best pitchers of his generation, and the best to ever lace it up for the Mariners. Long live the King.