Flashback: 5 great pics of young King Felix

August, 16, 2012
After 95 victories, more than 1,400 strikeouts, a Cy Young Award and scores of devoted fans, Felix Hernandez went perfect on us Wednesday afternoon, allowing no Tampa Bay Rays to reach base in a 1-0 Seattle Mariners win.

Such domination -- or at least something close -- seems almost a given each time Hernandez takes the mound, and has for years. But there was a time, back before he turned into one of the league's most reliably spectacular starters, that King Felix was merely, ahem, a prince.

Here are five great photos from back then, back in 2004 and 2005, before Seattle and the rest of us knew what he'd be.

Felix HernandezLisa Blumenfeld /Getty ImagesHernandez's first team portrait, this is from February 2005 -- before Felix tasted MLB play.

Felix HernandezBrian Bahr/Getty ImagesBefore the pose, Hernandez did pitch at the 2004 Futures Game -- and threw just like Felix does.

Felix 4AP Photo/Elaine ThompsonThis shot came from 2005 spring training, where Hernandez didn't dazzle (4.72 ERA in 13.1 innings).

Felix HernandezAP Photo/Elaine ThompsonHernandez did look good in Tacoma Rainiers garb; he posted a 2.25 ERA in the first half of 2005.

Felix HernandezScott Cohen/US PresswireThis "thanks" marked Fan Appreciation Night in October 2005, but very well could have been directed at Hernandez; the youngster posted a 2.67 ERA in 12 starts after his August call-up.
Patrick Dorsey is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor for ESPN.com. He has worked for the Web and newspapers. He also played in one Division-III golf tournament (he shot 105).



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