You read that correctly, we Mariners fans are really spoiled. Not in the classic, in the playoffs ever season, win three World Series titles sense. I am talking about the getting to watch some of the greatest single players in the modern era kind of spoiled. I won’t go through the list of players that came up or made historical marks with the M’s who are or will be enshrined in Cooperstown. But looking at Hall of Famers it is apparent Mariners fans are and have been spoiled. Given the painful futility of the last decade plus it is worth noting that we have been witness to some true greats. And thus spoiled relative to some more successful teams. Of course virtually every other team has won more than Seattle the last 12 seasons or so.
Consider the top teams historically by HOF members are NYY (22), NY Giants (18), Cardinals (17), Cubs (13), Cleveland & Red Sox & Pitt(12 each) and the list goes on. What is interesting is the bottom of the list. Ariz, Colo, Hou, LA Angels, Seattle and the Rays all have none. KC, Mets, Rangers and Blue Jays all have one each.
The Mariners have been around, mostly losing for 38 seasons. During that time no less than SEVEN Hall of Fame worthy players started their MLB careers in Seattle. One of those Lou Piniella obviously started elsewhere but managed Seattle for 10 years. Without getting buried in detail or debate, the following are those HOF type guys: Junior, Randy, Ichiro, Omar Vizquel, Lou and Edgar, We give a coulda/shoulda to A-Rod. I really don’t think Edgar will get in but he should. Many forget Omar but he is truly one of the great SS of all time. Randy got in on the first ballot, Junior will as well. Iciro also should be a first ballot guy. Bottom line is we suffering fans have not only witnessed the performance of these six elite players, they all came along since 1989, or in the last 25 years. Very few, actually NO team with Seattle’s losing history has produced this quantity of true stars in this time.
And now, Felix Hernandez has become as great a player as we have ever seen in our town, on our team ever. He came here very young, performed better and better, year after year. AND then, he chose to stay in Seattle. Maybe no other truly great player ever suffered through losing like that and chose to stay. The M’s could have traded Felix for a ton, and Felix could have left town for a ton. Lo and behold neither happened!
Felix is here and he is indeed The King. Now in his 10th full season Felix has never started fewer than 30 games in that stretch starting 31 three times, 33 twice and 34 three times. Felix is so good every time out fans only need worry about marveling what we behold.
Right after or along with Ken Griffey Jr., Felix Hernandez is the greatest athlete in Seattle history. Griffey is still the greatest, but The King, in his prime is not nearly finished. It is OK for we fans to be spoiled, as long as we know it.