Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez became a legend of Seattle sports almost immediately upon his MLB debut back in 2005. 14 years later, Hernandez's tenure with the Mariners is coming to an end, as he's set to hit free agency this winter and will not be re-signed. On Thursday night, "King Felix" took the mound one final time at T-Mobile Park against the Oakland Athletics, and was greeted by a raucous crowd holding thousands of "thank you" signs and screaming for him at the top of their lungs. Hernandez, obviously emotional, saluted the fans that have supported him over the years.
Just like with any athlete, talents eventually regress as time moves on. For Hernandez, it was a brutal dropoff. This season, he has compiled a 1-7 record and an unsightly 6.51 ERA in 14 games.
While his recent seasons were one to forget, Mariners fans will remember just how utterly dominant he was throughout his career. From six All-Star appearances to a 2010 American League Cy Young award, the King's run in King County will be remembered forever.
It's going to be weird seeing Felix Hernandez donning another team's uniform, but make no mistake about it, he will go down in Seattle sports lore as one of the greatest players ever to put on an M's uniform.