As we witness a rising star in the 6-foot-4, 220 pound Canadian flamethrower, we also could be seeing one of the better nicknames rising along with him.

Share story

Felix Hernandez and James Paxton pitch Tuesday night — one in Tacoma, the other in Seattle.

Let’s try that again.

King Felix and The Big Maple pitch Tuesday night.

Much better.

After sitting out nearly a month with left forearm tightness, The Big Maple returned to form last week against Colorado, allowing just 3 hits and striking out 6 over 5.1 scoreless innings. He’ll look to keep things rolling Tuesday night as the M’s host the first-place Twins. Meanwhile, King Felix takes the hill in Tacoma on a rehab start with the Rainiers, after being shut down with a right shoulder injury on April 25.

From The Kid to Beast Mode, Seattle has spawned some incredible players and, with them, even better nicknames over the years. And, as we witness a rising star in the 6-foot-4, 220 pound Canadian flame-thrower, we also could be seeing one of the better nicknames rising along with him.

While virtually every area code outside the 206 likely associates the King moniker with the guy playing basketball in Cleveland, the Mariners’ righty has owned the name in Seattle for more than a decade. King Felix is as commonplace as Reign Man, The Bone and Slick Watts in Seattle sports lore. But The Big Maple? We’re still trying that on for size.

After spinning seven scoreless innings against the Tigers on April 26, Mariners bench coach Tim Bogar spun his own gem, bestowing upon Paxton the nickname. Manager Scott Servais endorsed the name shortly after, saying: “Really an outstanding job. Big Maple was his nickname tonight. I kind of like the tone of that one.”

The name stems from the big maple leaf tattoo Paxton has on his right forearm, representing his Canadian roots.

Paxton’s take? Whatever works.

“I guess. Bogey (Bogar) started that one. They call me Big Canuck or Big Maple. One of the two.”

So, where do those nicknames rank among Seattle sports icons? We want to hear from you.

The poll has expired. Thank you for your submissions.