One year ago, yesterday, the Mariners Felix Hernandez threw the first, and thus far only perfect game in Mariners history. At the time, it was 35 years and counting without a perfect game for the good guys.
Others had thrown no-hitters before. Randy Johnson was the first in 1990 against the Tigers. Three years later Chris Bosio would do the same vs the Red Sox. Last season, just two months before Felix’s gem, Kevin Millwood and five Mariner relievers combined to throw the third no-hitter for the organization.
That August 15th, Felix threw the 23rd perfect game in MLB history and the first for the Mariners against the Tampa Bay Rays, winning 1-0.
After the game and after being soaked multiple times by Gatorade showers, Felix held his post game interview and said something that made Mariners fans man-crushes even stronger. “This one’s for you guys!” A crowd of 22,000 lucky fans got to witness what is now the most incredible pitching performance in the teams history. That day, Felix Hernandez passed Randy Johnson as the greatest Mariners pitcher in many people’s opinions.
In Johnson’s ten years with the M’s he went 130-74 with a 3.42 ERA.
Felix has pitched nine seasons in the Majors, all with the Mariners and has compiled a record of 110-81 to go with his impressive 3.13 ERA.
Add in the projected 14 wins per season that Felix is on, combine that with the wins he’ll still gain this season and the win total will be very similar. The ERA, even tough it is a slightly outdated statistic does still tell a story. Removing the win percentage shows that Felix has in fact been the better Mariner pitcher.
What Felix has working against him is his run support. Johnson had the benefit of a stacked lineup that included guys like Ken Griffey Jr, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez. The teams of the 90′s constantly put 5+ runs on the scoreboard in the Kingdome.
Since Felix has been a Mariner, scoring 5 or more runs in a game is cause for celebration and amazement. Had Felix pitched behind the same lineup as Johnson, his career numbers would be even more impressive. Adding the the lore of King Felix is that he’ll likely finish his career as a Mariner. Randy Johnson, no matter how much he did for the club, turned his back. Johnson won’t be wearing a Mariners cap when he’s inducted into Cooperstown.
Felix Hernandez signed his enormous contract extension almost guaranteeing he’ll be forever remembered as a Seattle Mariner.
The perfect game is only a bullet point on his résumé, proving he’s the best Mariners pitcher of all-time.