Welcome to the big time, Jesus Feliciano!

In this baseball fan's constitution, all major league debuts shall be created (and treated) equal.

That may explain why I consider whatever Mets outfielder Jesus Feliciano does in his major league debut to be as important as what Stephen Strasburg did in his.

It took Feliciano nearly 5,000 turns and 13 years in the minor leagues to earn a call-up, and it took hitting .385 at Triple-A this year to get him to the Show.

There won't be any Strasburg-like hype around this debut, and that's too bad, because right now, the two are on equal footing. Each has spent one day in a major league clubhouse and enjoyed a memorable triumph. One was a part of it. The other can't wait to get his chance.

In 1986, when I was an 11-year-old Mets follower, my father called me to come watch someone's major league debut.

It was Stanley Jefferson. He struck out in that first at-bat, but later got his first big league hit against Padres starter Dave LaPoint.

Jefferson, a prospect at the time, played 296 major league games from 1986 to 1991 and hit .216 for his career.

The next year, I went to a Giants-Mets game on May 16. That day, Jeff Innis made his major league debut and lost the game in extra innings when Jeff Leonard beat him with a home run that Darryl Strawberry missed pulling back by inches.

Innis pitched seven seasons in the majors, all in relief, and finished with a 10-20 mark, five saves and a 3.05 ERA.

This isn't Mets-related, but my favorite major league debut since I joined ESPN was that of Tigers starter Andy Van Hekken.

A native of Holland, Michigan, Van Hekken pitched a shutout against the Indians on September 3, 2002, before a large contingent of family and friends. The SportsCenter highlight that night showed the contingent reacting with jubilation to every out. It was pretty cool.

Van Hekken's major league career consisted of one win. That one.

The point being, instead of being caught up in what could be for Strasburg (and yes, his future looks incredibly bright), let's accept it for what it is. He and Feliciano are now major leaguers.

I wrote about the Mets former version of Strasburg, Tim Leary, on Tuesday, and of all the things he said, the one that stood out the most was: "I had a very successful major league career."

Leary was drafted No. 2 in the country, was supposed to be the next Tom Seaver. He never lived up to that billing. He finished 27 games under .500. But he still thinks he was a success, and rightfully so.

For some, the path to the Show is a little smoother, and a little glitzier than others.

But in the end, like Jefferson, Innis, Van Hekken, and thousands before them, they've both made it, and that is the most important thing.


Strasburg's debut brought back memories of another phenom who pitched amazingly well against an overmatched Pirates team one night.

It took Dwight Gooden until his 29th start to put up a line that matched Strasburg's in terms of strikeouts and walks. Gooden went a little better. On September 12, 1984, he went the distance on a 2-0 shutout win against a 63-83 Bucs squad. Gooden struck out 16 and walked none.

For those impressed by Strasburg's 14-whiff, no-walk debut, consider what Gooden did the next time out, five days later against the Phillies.

He struck out 16 and walked none. Again.

Except this time he lost, 2-1, giving up one run after a pair of errors (including one he made himself) and the tiebreaking tally on an eighth-inning balk.


Ike Davis and David Wright share something in common. The only walk-off home run they've ever hit has come against the Padres. Wright's came on Aug. 7, 2008. Davis got his on Tuesday. Some other notes about that one:

Walk-Off HR in First MLB Season

Mets History

* It was the Mets third walk-off home run of the season, matching a total they last had in 2006. The last season in which the Mets hit more than three in the regular season (they had four in 2000 if you include Benny Agbayani's in the playoffs) was in 1996, when they had four.

* All three Mets walk-off home runs this season have been hit by players in their first year with the Mets (Rod Barajas, Henry Blanco, and Davis). Prior to this year, the Mets hadn't gotten a walk-off home run from a player in his first Mets season since Carlos Delgado in 2006 (cap-tip to the folks who pointed out our initial answer of Chris Woodward was not correct).

* Davis became the fifth player to hit a walk-off home run for the Mets playing in his first major league season (not necessarily rookie year, but first year in the majors). He's the third since 2000, joining Esix Snead and Craig Brazell.

Mark Simon is a researcher for Baseball Tonight. Follow him on Twitter at @msimonespn or e-mail him at webgemscoreboard@gmail.com.