During his prime, Felix was one of the top pitchers in baseball. He won the Cy Young in 2010 and finished in the top four in Cy Young voting three other seasons. Hernandez also had a sub-2.50 ERA three times, six All-Star nods and notched a perfect game in 2012. A team could have unloaded starters and key farm pieces to try to lure the right-hander into spearheading a postseason rotation. Though his name would occasionally come up in longshot trade rumors, nothing ever materialized. He was destined to be a Mariner for the long haul.Hernandez will be known as a guy who went about his business, never complained about his team’s struggles, and poured everything he had into an organization that loved him endlessly. If sports are a business, King Felix is the quintessential employee. He’s everything Seattle could have imagined and then some.That’s how I’ll remember Felix Hernandez. MORE: MLB playoffs 2019: Bracket, dates, times, TV channelsHernandez is hardly the pitcher he once was, but T-Mobile Park showered him with an honorable sendoff in an emotional and nostalgic evening in Seattle. As for me, it’s impossible to comprehend that Felix Hernandez’s time in Seattle is likely finished.There won’t be the sea of yellow in King’s Court shouting for a strikeout during a two-strike count. There won’t be the blaring of the sing-along chorus in Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” when the King makes his pregame trek to the mound. There won’t be the raw and fiery look on his face when a defender makes an inning-ending play that ignites the home crowd.His legacy isn’t going anywhere, but those memories that we might have taken for granted are now behind us.King Felix means everything to Seattle, and after 15 years with the Mariners organization it’s safe to say Seattle means everything to him.Without living in the Pacific Northwest or being a diehard Mariners fan, it’s difficult to understand how this one player captured the hearts of an entire fanbase. “Not gonna lie, a tear came to my eye last night as he left the field,” a friend of mine wrote in a text shortly after Hernandez’s last start. The two of us grew up watching the Mariners religiously and supported Hernandez as if we knew him personally. Our backyard Wiffle Ball games would feature overexaggerated iterations of Felix’s iconic hip turn on his pitches. I remember firing up “MLB: The Show” with Hernandez on the bump against the worst-hitting teams in the game in hopes of pulling off a perfect game or a no-hitter. There were countless seasons when any remaining excitement for the Mariners was lost by the All-Star break. We always knew that every fifth game would be worth watching, though.Yes, it’s the all-too-familiar story of a franchise player appearing in his last game, but it feels like more than that with Hernandez. Fans my age grew up with Felix; he’s our generational star. He’s the reason I kept a transistor radio under my pillow in grade school to hear the final innings when it was past my bedtime. Favorite teams and players will take you to these lengths.On the national scale, Hernandez will probably be remembered as a really good pitcher who never made the playoffs and heavily declined over his final seasons. There will be articles about whether he’s the best pitcher to never reach the postseason, as well as arguments about why his legacy is diminished because of the same fact.Though it stings Mariners fans that Hernandez never pitched in October, his loyalty to the city of Seattle speaks louder volumes than a playoff bid ever would.From 2005 to 2019 (the duration of Hernandez’s career in Seattle), the Mariners were never in first place any later than June 13 of any season. Just three times Seattle had a first-place lead past April. And this year, if you can believe it, the M’s tied their longest stint in first place in the Hernandez era at 27 days, even though the team wound up losing 94 games.This stat says it all: There were more Hernandez wins (169) than days in first place (129) while King Felix was in Seattle.Despite all the team’s lulls over the years, Hernandez’s passion never wavered. Last week, I said goodbye to one of the final remaining pieces of my childhood. On Sept. 26, Felix Hernandez made what was likely his final start in a Mariners uniform, allowing three runs and recording three strikeouts in a 106-pitch effort against Oakland.