by Logan Zimmerman, Daily Vidette Sports Columnist
King Kong, King Tut, Sofa King, Kings of Comedy, Larry King, King of Queens, Stephen King, The Lion King, King Cobra, and even Burger King.
You’ve probably heard of all of these kings before, but why haven’t you heard about the most dominant king of them all out in Seattle?
As household names like Matt Kemp and Justin Verlander continue to establish themselves as some of the most spectacular players in baseball, “King Felix” Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners has remained one of the most under-the-radar pitchers to take the mound in the past five years.
After coming into the league at the tender age of 19, Hernandez has done nothing but shatter the bats of hitters with inside fastballs and buckle the knees of opposing players with his sweeping curveball.
However, due to his situation in Seattle with a sterile offense and lackadaisical fan base, King Felix rarely receives run support or the recognition he deserves.
In fact, Hernandez has only received one or fewer runs of support in four of his six starts this season, which has led to a mediocre 2-1 record to start the year.
But aside from his record, his other statistics represent the quality performance of a top-tier pitcher, including his miniscule 2.23 ERA to go along with 42 strikeouts in less than 45 innings pitched. Hernandez has also only allowed two runs or fewer in five of his first six starts on the season.
Although the season is still early at this point in the year, Hernandez’s complete career and personal success have led to his unrecognized journey to claim his throne and be crowned as an elite pitcher in baseball.
Since 2009, King Felix has managed to throw over 233 innings each season, a feat that has only been matched by Roy Halladay. He also managed a 2.70 ERA and over 700 strikeouts over the span, which averages out to about eight strikeouts per every nine innings pitched.
It wasn’t until 2010 when Hernandez finally won his first American League Cy Young Award, and he did it with just a 13-12 record with Seattle by pitching on pure pride.
After miraculously compiling a 19-5 record the year before, a total that eclipses his previous career-best total of 14 wins, Hernandez received the second most votes for A.L. Cy Young, and it seemed as if the sports writers had finally figured out what has been in front of them for years.
Safeco Field even constructed the “King’s Court,” a special cheering section for games in which King Felix pitches where fans are given a golden-colored T-shirt with the number “34” in navy blue writing topped with a “Felix” crown.
But if the sportswriters and fans of Seattle have been shaken awake by the Cy Young award winner and All-Star, then what is taking everyone else so long?
I’m not looking for anyone to bow down to the man, jump on the bandwagon, or even buy his jersey (although it is the best investment I’ve ever made), but can’t we all show the man the respect he deserves?
Ultimately, King Felix’s success is unparalleled, especially considering the team he plays for and how young he was when he came into the league. The man pitches on pure pride, and he has remained faithful to the few true supporters in Seattle.
The King will always represent one of the most elite starting pitchers to step onto a baseball diamond after the steroid era of baseball, but his success can’t go unrecognized.
If fans refuse to acknowledge Hernandez and his efforts, then what’s a King without a crown?