Mike Pelfrey: 2006 NL Eastern Champion Mets Pitcher (2006 - 2012)

Michael Alan Pelfrey was born on January 14, 1984, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The six-foot seven right hander known as Big Pelf was a star pitcher at Wichita State University, hiring Scott Boras as his agent entering the 2005 draft.

He was selected by the New York Mets in the 9th round & negotiated for six months before settling on a deal.

 He began 2006 at A ball in St. Lucie, going 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA, moving up to AA with Binghamton where he went 4-2 with a 2.71 ERA. 

Mets Career: He was called up to the Mets staff that July making his debut at Shea Stadium against the Florida Marlins on July 8th. He pitched five innings allowing three runs but got the win with the help of Jose Valentin’s grand slam HR. 

On July 18th, in his second start Carlos Beltran’s grand slam helped him earn his second win & he became the first rookie to have grand slams hit for him in his first two games. Pelfrey allowed two runs in seven innings while striking out three.

In his next start, he allowed five runs taking a loss to the Astros. On August 1st, he gave up four runs over seven innings in Florida earning no decision.  The Mets chose to send him down to AAA Norfolk for the rest of the season. 

He did not pitch in the 2006 Mets post season.

2007: Pelfrey had a strong Spring Training making the 2007 staff to start the season. Big Pelf struggled starting out the season at 0-5 with a 6.73 ERA by mid-May. He was sent back down to the AAA Norfolk Tides for two months. He returned in July & lost his first two starts, falling to 0-7. In August he back in AAA Norfolk & ended up going 3-6 there for the year.

One problem he was having was trying to learn how to throw a slider under the direction of Rick Peterson. He returned to the big-league staff in September. 

On September 1st, he got his first win, coming against the Braves in Atlanta allowing just one run in six innings. Pelfrey ended up having a strong September going 3-1 beating the Astros & Nationals helping the Mets stay in the pennant race. But they blew their playoff chances losing on the last day of the season.

2008: Pelfrey began the season beating the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium in the seventh game of the season, allowing two runs in five innings of work.  On April 15th, he beat the Washington Nationals pitching seven shutout innings on a five hitter. 

After that Pelfrey struggled again, losing his next six decisions, On April 25th in Atlanta he
allowed five earned runs in a loss to the Braves. He would allow four runs or more four times in his next six starts. 

Spoiled No Hit Bid: On May 15th he had a no hitter going into the 7th inning, in a home game against the Washington Nationals. Aaron Boone spoiled the bid with a base hit. He gave up three hits & then gave up a run on a sac fly taking a 1-0 heart breaking loss to Jason Bergmann. 

In June he began to pitch much better, on a June 11th outing against Arizona, he pitched shutout ball into the 8th inning turning the ball over to Billy Wagner. After Wagner relieved him, he blew the save allowing three runs in the 9th. The Mets did win the game in the 13th inning on a Carlos Beltran walk off HR.

Pelfrey went on a roll winning seven straight decisions in June & July. On a west coast road, he beat the Anaheim Angels even though he allowed six runs in the 9-6 Met win. He then beat the Rockies in Colrado, where he shut the Rockies out for 5.2 innings. 

On June 27th he gave up four runs to the A.L. New York team but still earned the victory in a 15-6 Met trouncing in the subway series. 

Pitcher of the Week: Pelfrey won the Pitcher of the Week Award in early July, when he allowed just one run over 22 innings in three starts. On July 3rd he got to .500 in an 11-1 win in St. Louis where he struck out six. On July 8th he shut out the Giants for seven innings & then followed with eight shutout innings over the Rockies at Shea Stadium. The streak bested him at 9-6 with a 3.67 ERA. 

In mid-August he began a streak where he won three straight games. Pelfrey pitched consecutive complete game victories on the homestand. On August 20th he beat the Atlanta Braves on a three hitter, while allowing three runs in the 6-3 win. In his next start he allowed just one run to Houston while fanning six in the complete game win.

In September he struggled along with the rest of the team, as he went 0-3. On September 26th he allowed three runs in a 6-1 loss to the Florida Marlins in the final series on the final weekend of the season. The Mets lost two of three & were eliminated from the post season in the last game ever played at Shea Stadium.

He finished the year at 13-11 with a 3.72 ERA, striking out 102 batters pitching in 200 innings. That season he also set a club record not allowing a HR in 243 batters faced. 

With new pitching coach Dan Warthan, it seemed Pelfrey felt more comfortable at the start. 
Warthan allowed him to go back to throwing his curveball which Rick Peterson had stopped him from throwing as well as adding a splitter to his repertoire in the next two seasons.

2009: Pelfrey pitched the Mets Opener at their new Citi Field ballpark. After all the pre-game fanfare which had Tom Seaver throwing out the first pitch to Mike Piazza, Pelfrey took the mound. He let down the fans including centerfieldmaz who was in attendance, literally right off the bat. 

Big Pelf allowed a leadoff HR to Jody Gerut, gave up five quick runs to the San Diego Padres & took the first loss at the new ballpark.

It was a long year for Met fans, as the team struggled through injuries & fell below .500. 

League Leading Balks: Pelfrey led the league in balks (6) & became the first pitched since Al Leiter in 1995 (a member of the Blue Jays at the time) to balk three times in the same game.

On May 17th in San Francisco, Pelfrey balked three times, against the Giants allowing two runs over six innings in the Mets 2-0 shutout loss. 

Quotes- Mike Pelfrey: "I knew I wanted to make a pitch at home & I was fighting myself." 

He described it as a mental hurdle he's experienced on occasion in his career. This included a game last season at Florida and a handful of times while pitching at Wichita State.

He began the year at 4-1 but it all went downhill from there. With the exception of July, in which he won three games while losing four, he would win just one game in three of the four final months of the season.

For the year he led the team in losses going 10-12 (10th most losses in the league) as well as runs (112) earned runs (103) (which were 4th most in the NL) & walks (66) posting a 5.03 ERA in 31 games.

The Mets finished 70-92 under Jerry Manuel in fourth place.


2010: Pelfrey took over as ace of the staff when Johan Santana went down with injury. On April 9th he beat the Nationals to earn his first win of the year. On April 15th he shut out the Rockies for seven innings in Colorado, striking out six in the 5-0 Mets win. 

On April 17th, he came in relief in the 20th inning of a wild twenty inning game with the Cardinals in St. Louis & earned a save after Jose Reyes hit an RBI sac fly in top of the inning.

Pelfrey began the year at 4-0 with a 0.69 ERA thru April.

Pelfrey continued to pitch well, beginning on May 17th he went on another five-game win streak. He pitched into the 7th inning or beyond in four of five games. 

On May 22nd he allowed just one run in the subway series earning the win. He began a stretch over the next four games where he allowed just three runs in a stretch of 31 innings pitched.
 
Pelfrey was 10-2 with a 2.71 ERA at the end of June. He was among the top pitchers in the NL up to that point but did not make the All-Star team, despite his efforts. When asked over & over about it, the big guy downplayed it handling it very professionally. 

From July to early August, he cooled off losing four straight games while allowing six runs in two games. On August 10th he pitched seven shutout innings against the Rockies in a 1-0 win at Citi Field. On August 27th he threw eight more shutout innings in a 2-1 win over the Astros.

In the last two months of the season, he would pitch into the seventh or beyond nine times, including each of his last five starts. Over that stretch of eleven starts, he allowed only three earned runs or more, three times going 5-3 with three no decisions.

Pelfrey led the team in wins with 15 (9th in the NL) innings (204) & starts (33) as well as walks (68) earned runs (83) & hits (213). It was the second time he would pitch 200+ innings.

2011: Terry Collins was now the new Mets manager in a new era. Pelfrey got another Opening Day nod, this time losing to the Marlins in Florida 6-2 as he gave up five earned runs in just 4.1 innings of work. 

In his next start he was removed in the second inning after allowing six earned runs to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. He was 1-3 at the end of April posting a 7.39 ERA, but then won his next two starts at the start of May. There was no consistency from Pelfrey all season, he would win a game lose a game & so on.

On June 2nd, he gave up a season high seven runs on ten hits in a 9-8 win over the Pirates, although he got no decision. On June 18th, he had a fine outing against the Anaheim Angels pitching a complete game five hitter, allowing just one run in a 6-1 Mets win at Citi Field. 

By the All Star break he was 5-8 but upon his return he pitched a complete game victory at Cincinnati. HR allowed two runs on seven hits, striking out just three & walking no one. 

In August he followed with four straight no decisions, then lost two of three games to close out the month. He finished the year with an 0-2 September, earning just one win in the final two months of the year.

In 2011 Pelfrey went 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA. Pelfrey posted 105 strike outs & 65 walks in 193 innings. The Mets went 77-85 finishing fourth under Terry Collins.

2012: Pelfrey would pitch just three games, then it was learned he would need Tommy John
surgery. The surgery was done by the famous Dr. James Andrews, ending Pelfrey's season & his time in New York.

Mets Career: In his seven-year Mets career he was 50-54 with a 4.68 ERA, striking out 506 batters & walking 318 in 896 innings pitched (17th on Mets all-time list) making 149 starts in 153 appearances.

Post Mets Career: In December of 2012 he signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins. In Minnesota he has a bad year going 5-13 (7th most losses in the AL) with a 5.19 ERA. 

He was given another one-year deal in 2014, starting out the season with the club in April. He would make five starts, including one in the fourth game of the season where he gave up three runs & tool the loss at Cleveland against the Indians. His next start was at home against the Oakland A's & Pelfrey gave up six runs over five innings, taking another loss. By May 1st he was 0-3 with an ERA just under eight, then was sent to AAA Rochester where he ended his season after two games.

In 2015 his season began well, at the end of May he was 4-1 with 2.77 ERA with 26 strikeouts. In June he had a five-game losing streak & then a four-game skid in September causing him to finish up at 6-11 with the second place Twins.

That year he was first in the league with a 0.601 HR per nine inning ratios. After being granted free agency, he signed on with the Detroit Tigers for 2016. In 22 starts he went 4-10 with a 5.07 ERA.

In 2017 he signed with the Chicago White Sox going 3-12 in 34 appearances making 21 starts. He once again posted an ERA over five (5.93) ending his career.


Career Stats: In his twelve-year career he was 68-103 with a 4.68 ERA. He struck out 838 batters walking 542 in 1476 innings pitched. He made 275 appearances with 256 starts.

At the plate he batted .104 with 5 doubles & 13 RBIs.

Family: Mike & his wife Angela were married in 2008. They have a son Chase & two daughters. While with the Mets, Pelfrey lived in Long Island City, Queens having a very short commute (without traffic) to work at Citi Field.

Trivia: On the mound he was famous for his habit of licking his hands, one official count had him do it 89 times during the course of a game.

Pelfrey was one of the many people victimized by $8 billion fraud from Allen Stanford. He stated that 99% of his assets were frozen after the incident.

Retirement: In 2018 Pelfrey became a pitching coach at Newman University. In 2019 he became the pitching coach at Wichita University.

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