48-year-old former big leaguer steps out of retirement & onto hill

August 10th, 2022

He may have a little more salt and pepper in his beard these days, but 48-year-old former big leaguer Nelson Figueroa is still a seasoned workhorse on the mound. If you thought Figueroa hadn't thrown a Major League pitch since (checks notes) 2011, you'd be correct. But a strange turn of events had him back in familiar territory on Tuesday.

Figueroa is currently the pitching coach for the Staten Island FerryHawks, who play in the independent Atlantic League and sport a staff that featured former big league All-Star Julio Teheran, as well as trailblazing two-way player Kelsie Whitmore. Facing an unexpected doubleheader, the club found itself scrambling for a pitching plan in Game 1, so Figueroa stepped up to the (pitcher's) plate. (He did also get three at-bats!)

Wearing No. 23 on his back, not unlike a pretty well-known basketball star who stepped out of retirement to try his hand at this sport, Figueroa fanned the second batter he faced. Although it was mostly downhill from there (he allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits over seven innings), the nine-year MLB veteran did chuck 119 pitches and struck out four over a 7-inning complete game.

The most recent pitcher to take the mound in the Majors at age 48 or older was Jamie Moyer in 2012. The southpaw, who stuck around until his age-49 season, was also staff-mates with Figueroa in Philadelphia in 2010.