“It felt so unreal,” he describes. “That night something just felt different. Even in the dugout, my team knew something was up with me because I wasn’t really talking to anyone like I’d usually do.”
To many, it came as no surprise. The Venezuelan pitcher has long been touted as one of the game’s best pitchers around. He took home the Cy Young award in 2010 and continues to be a leading contender of the innings-pitched and Strikeout categories in all of MLB. His perfect game on August 15th is merely the 23rd time it’s been done in Major League history and only the second time it has been done by a foreign-born pitcher (it’s also the first in Mariners’ history). His talent combined with a very charismatic personality, makes him a beloved figure in Seattle, helping the clubhouse increase ticket sales and attendance numbers.
It felt so unreal. That night something just felt different. Even in the dugout, my team knew something was up with me because I wasn’t really talking to anyone like I’d usually do.To achieve his perfect game, King Felix used his mid-90s fastball and changeup, which caught the Rays by surprise. That night, he struck out 12 batters, including five of the last six hitters he faced. He allowed five balls to leave the infield and didn’t need the help of an awesome catch or spectacular play to preserve the no-hitter; instead he relied on his talent and perseverance.
Despite his crowning achievement, King Felix is still very humble about his amazing accomplishment. “It was something always in my mind, but it wasn’t always what fueled my performance since I always go out there looking for a strike out every time I’m at the mound,” he admits. “As a pitcher, it’s always something you strive for, but it just so happened to be my time. As the end of the game got closer and closer, I was just telling myself that I’ve got to do it. By the ninth inning, I was a bit nervous, but was able to pull it off! I’m just proud of what I did and will continue to go into each game trying to have my best night regardless. That’s always been my top priority.”
Signed by the Mariners in 2002, King Felix made his MLB debut in 2005 when he was only 19. Over the years, his talent has been key for the Mariners’ franchise, igniting an increase in fans and support. When he first started out the season, he admits he wasn’t always consistent, and worked hard on increasing his consistency. “I’ve been working really hard to perfect my throws, which is always on my mind, game or no game,” he says. “I’m one of those players who goes above and beyond to make sure that I’m throwing well no matter what. Even on days I don’t feel like practicing, I have to always tell myself that it needs to be done for the sake of my game.”
And because of his intense work ethic, it’s only fair that King Felix treats himself to a growing collection of fine rides. Still in its early phases, his garage touts a Mercedes-Benz GL, Nissan GT-R, Range Rover, Porsche Cayenne Turbo and a recently purchased Mercedes-Benz S65.
“I wanted a fast car and once I saw the Nissan GT-R, I new it was the one for me,” he admits. “The GL is my wife’s car, while the Range Rover is the perfect family car. The Porsche is also great for family trips, but has added performance, which is why I liked it and wanted it to stand out. Right now my favorite is the GT-R, but that might change as I get used to the new S65.”
For all his customization needs, King Felix calls up his good friend Jhulio Tadeo of MC Customs in Miami, who he met through former teammate Carlos Silva. The two have been working together for the past four years, with Jhulio first working on his Cadillac Escalade, which is his transportation when visiting Venezuela.
“Felix is the most humble individual you can ever meet,” Tadeo describes. “He is as loyal and as true as they come. As far as his cars go, Felix likes to go all out— music, engine, kits, wheels and full-on personalization. He likes it all! He’s like a kid in a candy store when it comes to customizing his cars.” Tadeo also admits that while he may suggest a lot of mods to Hernandez, most of the time, he’s the one that comes up with ideas first.
With a car game fit for royalty, King Felix does admit the he’d like to one day add an exotic to his lineup, opting for either a Ferrari or Lamborghini. “Right now I’m not sure which one I’ll get, but all I know is that I want one. They both are good-looking cars and I wouldn’t mind having both, but I still have time to make my decision.”
And that’s not all the young pitcher has on his mind. Even though he has many prestigious accolades, he’s still playing hard to help his team make the playoffs and win a World Series. “I love Seattle; it’s my home and I plan on being with the Mariners as long as I can,” he says. “I’m working hard to help me and my team achieve that goal of becoming champions. I know we’ll get there; it’s just a matter of time.”