BY Bob Sherwin 08:15PM 01/26/2011

Cy Young winner Hernandez adds another award

Overcoming low win total to be AL’s best pitcher made for Seattle’s Sports Story of the Year

Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez, the American League's best pitcher, receives the 2010 Sports Story of the Year Award during the 76th Annual Sports Star of the Year Wednesday night / Scott Eklund, Red Box Pictures

Most years, Felix Hernandez might feel that being named the Seattle Story of the Year winner is pretty neat. This year, he also won a award a little better with a little more national immortality attached to it.

Saturday in New York, the 24-year-old was given the 2010 American League Cy Young Award.

That didn’t make him any less gracious when he accepted his local award Wednesday night in Benaroya Hall.

“It’s a special night. Thank you, thank you,” he said. “I couldn’t make it (to the event) last year but I’m here this year, man.”

Hernandez,  24, is locked in by contract for at least another four years by the Mariners. He has purchased a home here, he has his daughter enrolled in school here. He’s a Venezuelan Seattleite.

“Sports fans in Seattle I think are one of the best,” he said backstage. “We spent about a month in Venezuela then came back here. I love this city, man. This city is great.”

Part of what made the Fernandez story so compelling was that baseball writers had to overlook how bad the Mariners were as a team. At 13-12, he had the fewest wins in the award’s history. But his 2.27 ERA and a variety of other premier statistics made a case that it’s not about the team, it’s about the pitcher.

“I was a little nervous,” he said. “But my wife always tell me, ‘Don’t worry. You’re going to get it.’ She was so positive. My (other) numbers were at the top so I think I got a chance. And I win.”

He won handily, on 21 of 28 first-place ballots. Following the accolade from his hometown fans, he needs to make more room on the mantel.

Sports Star of the Year Winners (1935-2011)


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