Felix Has Arrived in Cooperstown

The Seattle Mariners organization, players and staff, has always been very supportive of the National Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

The Hall of Fame (www.baseballhall.org) is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to fostering  an appreciation of the historical development of baseball and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our national pastime.

Throughout the Mariners franchise 35-year history, donations of memorabilia and other important artifacts have been donated to the Hall of Fame, a practice that continues today.

A package arrived in Cooperstown this morning. Inside were a jersey, a ball and a Mariners cap.

The game-used jersey was worn by Felix Hernandez on August 15 when he tossed the first Perfect Game in franchise history, a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. An interesting Felix preference caused a small shipping delay with the jersey. All Mariners players have two different “weight” white jerseys; a “cool base” mesh jersey, and a slightly heavier traditional knit top. Most guys on the team will wear the two almost interchangeably, although almost everyone wears the “cool base” top for sunny day games.

Felix is an exception. He only wears the traditional, slightly heavier jersey. This meant that even though the top he was wearing in the Perfect Game was pulled aside and stored (unwashed) after his historic game, the Mariners couldn’t ship it to the Hall until a replacement jersey arrived. The new jersey actually arrived in Seattle the same day he was next scheduled to pitch; if it hadn’t arrived, his Perfect Game top would have been washed, and Felix would have worn it out to the mound.

The jersey was a gift to the HOF from Felix. He could have kept it for himself, but he thought it was important that it be in the Hall’s permanent collection.

The package also contained a game-used ball from the Perfect Game, a gift from the Mariners organization.

The final item was the hat worn by Stephen Pryor in the team’s six-pitcher, combined no-hitter vs. the Dodgers on June 8. Pryor was the winning pitcher that day, and when the Hall of Fame requested the hat for its permanent collection, Pryor was happy to make the donation. The only problem was that he had sent his hat to his mother in Tennessee. It took a little time (and a little convincing) before the hat was shipped back to Seattle so it could be sent on to the Hall of Fame.

- TH

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