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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

July 11, 2014 at 7:00 AM

King Felix vs. the Big Unit: Who’s the M’s greatest pitcher?

Before Randy Johnson left the Mariners, he blossomed into one of baseball greatest pitchers.  Lenny Ignelzi / The Associated Press,1996

Before Randy Johnson left the Mariners, he blossomed into one of baseball greatest pitchers.
Lenny Ignelzi / The Associated Press,1996

King Felix or the Big Unit? Felix Hernandez or Randy Johnson?

Both played 10 remarkable seasons with the Mariners, had great stuff and reputations as two of the best pitchers in baseball. And their statistics for Seattle are eerily similar.

Entering Friday’s games, Hernandez’s win-loss record is 120-88 (.577) in 288 starts, with a 3.12 earned-run average, 1,848 strikeouts in 1,961 innings (8.5 per nine innings), five All-Star selections, one perfect no-hitter and one Cy Young Award.

Johnson was 130-74 (.631) in 266 starts, with a 3.42 ERA, 2,162 strikeouts in 1,838.1 innings (10.6 per nine innings), five All-Star selections, one no-hitter and one Cy Young Award for the Mariners.

Of course, the Big Unit went on to seal a Hall of Fame career by winning 303 games, five Cy Young Awards, earn 10 All-Star appearances, pitch two no-hitters (including one perfect game) and collect a World Championship and a World Series MVP.

Felix Hernandez's numbers compare favorably to Randy Johnson's over 10 Mariners seasons.  Nam Y. Huh / The Associated press

Felix Hernandez’s numbers compare favorably to Randy Johnson’s over 10 Mariners seasons.
Nam Y. Huh / The Associated press

King Felix is clearly entering the prime of his career, but he has never pitched a postseason game, much less win a World Series, playing for inferior Mariners teams that provide little run support.

But ignore the career stats and focus on their Mariners decade. It’s almost too close to call. Randy registered more strikeouts, and Felix has better control. Felix’s changeup and Randy’s slider. Randy’s mullet and Felix’s chin whiskers.

Back and forth.

There’s only one way to settle it: With a vote. Take our poll and tell us who you think the greatest pitcher in Mariners history is.

King Felix or the Big Unit? Felix Hernandez or Randy Johnson?

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. Opinions expressed are those of authors, and The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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