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Thursday, August 16, 2012
Flashback: 5 great pics of young King Felix

By Patrick Dorsey

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 Hernandez
Hernandez's first team portrait, this is from February 2005 -- before Felix tasted MLB play.

Felix Hernandez
Before the pose, Hernandez did pitch at the 2004 Futures Game -- and threw just like Felix does.

Felix 4
This shot came from 2005 spring training, where Hernandez didn't dazzle (4.72 ERA in 13.1 innings).

Felix Hernandez
Hernandez did look good in Tacoma Rainiers garb; he posted a 2.25 ERA in the first half of 2005.

Felix Hernandez
This "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.