Longtime Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano, who pitched in parts of nine MLB seasons, died on Sunday. The Puerto Rico national team confirmed his death, which was first reported by ESPN’s Eduardo Perez. Feliciano was 45 years old.
The left-handed Feliciano spent time in the minors with various organizations during his professional career. He pitched in the majors only with the Mets, however, amassing 484 appearances. He accrued a 3.33 ERA (126 ERA+) and a 2.12 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Feliciano’s most notable attribute as a pitcher was his rubber arm. His nickname became “Perpetual Pedro” and he lived up to it. Over a five-year span, from 2006-10, he averaged 82 appearances per season. So perpetual was Feliciano that he finished his career with the second-most appearances in Mets franchise history, behind only John Franco (who pitched in 695 games with New York).
The Mets originally acquired Feliciano in 2002 as part of a trade that sent starting pitcher Shawn Estes to the Cincinnati Reds. The great irony is that Feliciano’s career with the Mets was almost over shortly after it began. He was designated for assignment just months after being acquired, with the Detroit Tigers claiming him off waivers in October.
Feliciano, originally a 31st-round draft pick by the Dodgers, was released by the Tigers over the subsequent winter, paving the way for him to return to the Mets organization. A somewhat similar situation unfolded years later, when the Mets sold Feliciano’s rights to Japan’s Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in January 2005. Feliciano would return a year later to the Mets, allowing for the aforementioned five-year run.
Feliciano, who was born in Rio Pedras, also pitched for his native Puerto Rico in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics.