Best Sports Figure Not Named Ichiro

Felix Hernandez

It won't be long before this category will have to be renamed "Best Sports Figure Not Named Felix." Ichiro spent half of this season mired in the first extended slump of his accomplished career, and, sadly, his days with the Mariners seem numbered. Felix Hernandez , on the other hand, is just 25 years young and coming off a spectacular season in which he led the league in ERA, struck out 234 batters, and won the Cy Young award. But while the impressive stats are a significant part of the King's appeal, it's his ebullient personality that seals his spot in the hearts of Mariners faithful. Off the field he's a happy-go-lucky Venezuelan with a goofy grin and a Jheri curl. On the mound, he's a steely-gazed out-making machine the likes of whom hasn't been seen in the Emerald City since Randy Johnson and his mullet were mowing down opposing batters in the Kingdome. Here's hoping that, unlike the Big Unit, Felix finishes his career with the Mariners-otherwise we'll have to find yet another namesake for this category. KEEGAN HAMILTON

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