Felix Hernandez's act of kindness leaves father, son more impressed than perfect game
Here's a cool story that will appear in my Thursday column. Check back at about 10 p.m. for the full column.
On Monday, back when Felix Hernandez still allowed base runners, a 3-year-old boy and his father watched the ace during a bullpen session. When Hernandez finished throwing, he looked at them, smiled and walked their way.
After greeting the two, Hernandez handed little Perry Jones IV his baseball. Mind blown, the father managed to explain the significance to his son.
"I can't believe what just happened," Perry Jones III said to the child. "He is the best pitcher in baseball."
The star they call King Felix grinned and walked away. It was an appetizer of a moment compared to the awe Hernandez would inspire two days later, but it was as genuinely Felix as a 12-strikeout perfect game.
"It was the most gracious thing," the father said. "It's one of those moments in your life when you know something special happened. It was such a genuine thing, and I know that he connected with little Perry."
That night, Little Perry slept with that baseball. He took it to daycare the next day and slept with it again the next night. His father only had one regret: He was so amazed that he forgot to ask Hernandez to sign the ball.
So, on Wednesday, the 64-year-old dentist rode his bicycle from his Ballard office to Safeco Field during the lunch hour to buy an autographed baseball from the Mariners team store. No, this story doesn't end with the perfect coincidence of Perry III sticking around for the perfect game. Even though the game had begun, he rushed back to Ballard after making his purchase. But he still feels the serendipity of being on the edge of history.
"The whole thing was magic," Perry III said.
Later Wednesday night, the father told his son what Hernandez had done and what a perfect game meant. The boy offered a coy smile.
Little Perry already knew the man who gave him the baseball was special.
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