Los Angeles Angels players mourn the loss of team doctor Lewis Yocum, who died May 28, in part by wearing a patch on their uniforms that honors him. A circle shape stitched to the jersey, just above the heart, the patch is dark blue and says "Dr. Lewis Yocum 1947-2013" and "LEW" in red Angels script.
And now Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners wears it too. He was the starting pitcher against the Angels on Thursday night at the Big A, but he also showed solidarity with the opposing team:
Felix Hernandez is first class. Came over and asked for the Yocum patch, honoring late doctor. Wearing on mound tonite. #Angels
— Eric Kay (@EKayAngels) June 21, 2013
It's getting a little dusty in here. Hernandez always has seemed to be one of those thoughtful superstars, often looking out for others. A benevolent King. It's not just his dominance on the mound that makes Mariners fans love him, but it's also his attitude and personality. This is yet another example. But he wasn't just being chummy for the sake of it.
He also knew Yocum, having visited him recently in Los Angeles, just before Hernandez signed a rich contract extension with Seattle. Yocum, a protege of Frank Jobe who specializes in elbow and shoulder medicine, ensured that Hernandez's right elbow was sound. No Tommy John surgery here! Sign your $175 million deal, Felix.
So his acquaintance with Yocum has something to do with Hernandez having the patch sewn to his Mariners road grays. But mostly, we can credit Felix with just being an empathetic person.
Update: At least two other Mariners players wore the "Lew" patch: Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibañez. Morales used to play for the Angels and Yocum no doubt spent long hours trying to get him healthy after that stupefyingly unlucky broken leg Morales suffered. BLS H/N: @AviMillerBSN. Thanks, Avi.
An aside: The Angels probably had to get special permission from Major League Baseball to wear the Yocum patch. Usually/always, that's how it works with uniform additions. But he was a team employee of theirs. He had no relationship to the Mariners in an official capacity. I wonder if King Felix will get a letter from the league telling him to remove the patch or risk a fine. Or maybe he asked for permission and got it — MLB's not heartless, you know!
Another aside: You'd think they'd put the patch closer to a joint, given that Yocum was a renowned orthopedist. No matter, it's still a classy tribute.
[Editor's note: An earlier version of this post was unaware that Morales and Ibañez also wore the Yocum patch.]
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