King Felix and Mariners teammates pay classy tribute to late Dr. Yocum
Bill Veeck may have been cynical about uniform patches — in Veeck as in Wreck, the maverick owner wrote of the AL’s observance of its 50th anniversary as “…an event the league was exploiting with its usual burst of inspiration by sewing special emblems on the uniforms of all the players” — but they can make for a tasteful tribute.
Recently, the Angels donned one to honor the passing of Dr. Lewis Yocum, a giant in the field of sports medicine who served as team physician for 36 years. Despite his affiliation, Yocum examined and performed surgery on players from virtually every team, so it was touching to see — via Yahoo! Sports’ eagle-eyed David Brown — that on Thursday night, three Mariners showed their solidarity by adorning their own jerseys with the Yocum patch for their game against the Angels.
Leading the way was starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, who after a brief bit of concern about his elbow received a clean bill of health from Yocum prior to signing his $175 million extension this spring. Joining him were Kendrys Morales, a former Angel who must have seen plenty of Yocum when he missed most of 2010 and all of 2011 due to a broken leg, and Raul Ibanez, who has been around long enough, with enough dents and dings, that he must have paid the doctor a few visits as well.
Though the Angels’ red looked out of place in the vicinity of the Mariners’ teal, it was a classy gesture on the part of their intradivision rivals. Unfortunately, the Mariners wound up having a rough night, blowing a 7-0 lead and losing 10-9, with Hernandez being peppered for 12 hits and seven runs in five innings. At least he’s got his health, and his big contract, thanks in small part to the late Dr. Yocum.