Hittin' and grinnin'.
Why we like him: Felix Fermin was just one of those guys. A pesky middle infielder who always managed to find a way to make it difficult for a defense to get him out. His career spanned 10 seasons with stops in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Seattle, and Chicago (NL), where he batted a lame but respectable .259 with 4 home runs. In addtion to being a usable hitter, Fermin also played pretty good defense at shortstop as well as second base, which made him a valuable late inning substitute.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about his career, statistically anyway, was the fact that he struck out 147 times and walked 166 in 2,767 at-bats. First of all, any time a guy can strike out fewer times than he walks, I'm impressed. Look at a decent player from today, the Mets' Angel Pagan. He's already struck out 260 times in his career in 1400 at-bats. Fermin made you work. However, what I like about stats like his is that when Felix "El Gato" Fermin strolled to the plate to hit, he was going to hit. It's like he knew that you only get so many ABs in life, so you might as well hack away and put it in play.
I probably remember Fermin best for his 1994 strike-shortened season with the Mariners. He was the everyday shortstop for an up-and-coming Mariners team that was starting to get it together. He batted career-best .317 that season with the best slugging percentage of his career (.380). Fermin provided a spark near the bottom of the Seattle lineup all season long, and just as everyone thought he was turning the corner and becoming a valuable asset to the M's, the strike happened.
The following year was the beginning of the end for Felix. He batted .195 with just six extra-base hits. He was released in April of 1996, but was picked up a month later by the Chicago Cubs who hoped he could regain his 1994 form. But 1996 was even worse, as he batted .125 through 11 games and was released by the organization in August, never to play again. Fermin has since become somewhat of a legend as a manager in the Dominican Winter League, winning five championships for the not-so-easily-pronounced Águilas Cibaeñas in eight seasons.
Ladies and gentlemen, Felix Fermin, Ballplayer.