Coney Island’s Finest

Sorry Stephon Marbury, but you’ve been passed over as the best New York athlete who hails from Coney Island.

Nelson Figueroa, who is already the feel good story of the 2008 MLB season, lived his dream last night pitching for the team he rooted for as a kid growing up in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The soon to be 34 year old pitcher who graduated from Lincoln High School picked up a win and pitched like he belonged in the majors all along.

Figueroa had Mets fans thinking about that ever elusive no hitter, going 4 2/3 innings without surrendering a hit. With over 100 friends & family on hand (some of which were in Billy Wagner’s personal luxury suite), he finished his 6 innings having given up only 2 runs, 2 hits, and 6 Ks in 6 innings.

His whirlwind story of bouncing around from between the Minors, majors, rotator cuff surgery, the independent leagues, Taiwan, and Mexico may not be as movie worthy as “The Rookie” Jim Morris or as book worthy as Chris Coste but what Nelson Figueroa did last night was absolutely heartwarming.

Angel Pagan may not be from Coney Island, but he spent an extremely productive summer there in 2001 as the first star for the Brooklyn Cyclones during their inaugural season. His great season continued with a 2-4, 1 RBI night along with some hustle on the base paths. He did all this despite the pre-game vote of no confidence by his manager.

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