The sports world is reeling because Pedro Feliciano – the pitcher who spent nine seasons with the New York Mets – is dead. Here’s what we know.
The baseball world was struck by tragedy on Monday (Nov. 8) upon learning that Pedro Feliciano was dead. “Just found out that former #Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano passed away last night in his sleep,” tweeted ESPN baseball analyst Eduardo Perez tweeted. “He was a really good released but a better person off the field. He will be missed 🇵🇷 #Leones #Cangrejeros. He was jet skiing yesterday with his family. #sad.”
Pedro’s cause of death wasn’t immediately made known. His passing was confirmed by the Puerto Rican newspaper, El Nuevo Dia (h/t New York Post). As the sports world pauses to remember the life and legacy of the man dubbed “The Perpetual Pedro,” here’s what you need to know about this MLB superstar.
1. Pedro Feliciano Was A Puerto Rican Baseball Player
Born Pedro Juan Feliciano Molina on August 25, 1976, in Río Piedras, the man who would spend nearly a decade pitching for the New York Mets grew up in Puerto Rico. He graduated from Jose S. Algeria high school, where he developed a love for baseball – and a reputation for being a dependable left-handed pitcher. Pedro received his big break when he was drafted in 1995, but it would far be an “overnight success.”
2. Pedro Was First Drafted By The Dodgers…
Pedro’s journey to the majors was a long and winding road. The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Pedro in 1995, in the 31 st round. Pedro spent the next six years within the minor league system, dealing with injuries as he developed his skills. However, after six years without promotion to the majors, Pedro became a free agent in 2001.
3. …But Played For Many Teams
Undeterred from achieving his dreams, Pedro signed with the Cincinnati Reds for the 2002 season – but was traded to the New York Mets. This move would allow Pedro to make his Majors debut on Sept. 4, 2002, where he pitched two scoreless innings against the Florida Marlins. However, the Mets put Pedro on waivers as part of a roster rearrangement, allowing the Detroit Tigers to claim him that October. The Tigers released Pedro two months later, allowing Feliciano to re-sign with the Mets in 2003.
Pedro spent two seasons with the Mets’ AAA team. In 2005, Pedro pitched for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League (after the Mets sold his contract to the Hawks.) Pedro returned to the Mets in 2006. He became a permanent fixture in the team’s bullpen, thanks to his left-handed pitching.
In 2011, Pedro signed a two-year deal with the New York Yankees, worth a reported $8 million. However, a lingering shoulder issue required surgery, which ended his 2011 season. Pedro spent the following year dealing with rehab. He failed to make an appearance with the Yankees for the entire 2012 season, and his contract expired without him throwing a single pitch for the Bronx Bombers.
Pedro did one more stint with the Mets before bouncing around the minors for the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. He exited baseball around 2015.
4. He Was Nicknamed ‘The Perpetual’ Pedro
Pedro was christened “Perpetual Pedro by Mets announcer Gary Cohen, per Fansided, because Feliciano often appeared in crucial games as a relief pitcher. He was a workhorse with the Mets pitching in 86 games in 2008, 88 games in 2009, and 92 games in 2010. He led the majors in relief appearances from 2007 to 2010, appearing in 344 games total, per Fansided. He was a clutch performer, one who the Mets’ fans could rely on.
“Feliciano was a prime example of a player who played with heart,” wrote Fansided’s Edward Lennon. “He did whatever he possibly could for New York every season he spent with them. He should not just be an ordinary former relief pitcher of New York’s past, but remembered and appreciated as a competitor who did all that he could for the team out in Flushing.”
5. He Had A Medical Condition
In 2013, Pedro was diagnosed with a rare medical condition in which he had a “little hole” in his heart, according to TMZ. It’s unclear if this played any role in his death.