Will King Felix call Cooperstown home?

Longtime Mariner icon is on the 2025 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, but there's a lot riding against him in his case for Cooperstown.
Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles
Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Former Mariner Adrian Beltre is officially headed to the Baseball Hall of Fame, while Ichiro Suzuki should join him in 2025, his first year on the ballot. However, there is another player with Mariner ties set to hit the 2025 ballot, Felix Hernandez. Let's dive into his case for Cooperstown.

Mariner fans and media penned a phrase for longtime Mariner ace Felix Hernandez's games and his team's propensity to shrink when the Venezuelan pitcher was shining on the mound. They'd say, "He got Felix'd." For context, Hernandez had 119 starts and a career ERA of 2.93 ERA in games when his offense scored less than two runs. His record in those games was a dismal 23 wins and 65 losses. He effectively left at least another 20 wins on the field, and when you are talking about a guy who finished with a career record of 169-136, that's a huge mark against his case for Cooperstown.

Hernandez had a run of six seasons (2009 to 2015) where he was arguably one of the Top 3 pitchers in baseball. He averaged 15 wins, 229 innings, and 237 strikeouts a season during that time. Despite his dominance, his team continued to fail to support what was a tremendous run. For example, in 2014, Hernandez accumulated a 1.78 ERA in his 15 wins. He was 0 and 6 with a 2.45 ERA in the 19 other starts, which is utterly demoralizing. However, the Baseball Writers Association did reward him in 2010 with the American League Cy Young, a season in which he was 13-12 but threw an eye-popping 249 innings.

The willingness of voters to look past the traditional statistics and recognize sheer brilliance and dominance on the field could keep King Felix on the ballot long enough to get a late push like another former Mariner, Edgar Martinez. His chances all hinge on the Baseball Writer's Association recognizing what Mariner fans were subjected to for Hernandez's prime, a pitcher who did his job night in and night out, and an offense that was just downright offensive.