Feliz frozen in Phillies history thanks to clutch hit

Feliz frozen in Phillies history thanks to clutch hit

The moment remains frozen in franchise history. And not just because the sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park on Oct. 29, 2008, was fully winterized against the night's biting chill.

World Series, Game 5 (Part II), Tampa Bay Rays vs. Phillies. Bottom of the seventh, score tied at 3. Eric Bruntlett on third base, Pedro Feliz at the plate facing Rays reliever Chad Bradford. Feliz swings, singling up the middle. Bruntlett scores what would prove to be the winning run as the Phils captured their second World Series championship in franchise history.

Feliz smiled when asked what he remembers most about his two years with the Phillies, smiled because the answer was obvious.

"When I delivered that single to drive that run in, everybody was happy," he said. "And to be a part of that moment is the best thing that can happen in baseball."

The previous season, third base had been a revolving door for the Phils. Greg Dobbs, Wes Helms and Abraham Nunez had each played at least 50 games at the hot corner. Feliz solidified the position for the next two seasons.

The Phillies went back to the World Series in 2009, losing to the New York Yankees. During the regular season, Feliz had a career-high 154 hits and led the club with a .336 batting average with runners in scoring position. But the team didn't pick up his option for 2010, choosing to sign free agent Placido Polanco instead. And that leaves Feliz with a unique distinction: He was with the Phils just those two years, but they were the only times the team has appeared in the Fall Classic since 1993.

"I was there for two great years, back-to-back World Series. You don't see that every day," Feliz recalled. "The support we got from the fans every day. The clubhouse was a good group, the ownership and everybody. It was a great time I had there."

Feliz was an above-average defender who had hit at least 20 home runs from 2004-07 for the Giants. But negotiations with San Francisco progressed slowly. Two weeks before pitchers and catchers were scheduled to report, he signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract with the Phillies, reportedly less than what the Giants had offered.

Feliz hit just 14 homers in his first season in red pinstripes, and 12 the following year despite moving from spacious AT&T Park to hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park. That can be attributed at least in part to back problems that landed him on the disabled list for the first time in his career in 2008 and required surgery at the end of the season.

Feliz signed with the Astros for the 2010 season and was traded to the Cardinals in August. He signed with the Royals before the '11 season but was released at the end of Spring Training, eventually splitting that year between the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League and the Padres' Triple-A Tucson affiliate.

After sitting out 2013, Feliz played winter ball in his native Dominican Republic.

"I would love to keep playing, but it seems like it's getting harder now," he said. "I haven't gotten any calls, so I'm enjoying the family. If I find a place to go play, I would do it. It's what I love to do and I feel like I can still do it. But if not, I won't complain. I will stay home with my family."

Feliz's children are 12, 10, 6 and 2.

"They keep me busy," he said, smiling again.

Feliz, who turns 40 in April, now lives in Orlando, Fla. He has retained ties to the Philadelphia area, however. Feliz played for the Riversharks in 2011-12. He also made a small investment two years ago in the Norristown company that makes Chandler bats.

Domonic Brown and Carlos Ruiz have used the bats. So have Bryce Harper of the Nationals, Yoenis Cespedes of the Tigers and former Phillie Raul Ibanez.

Feliz's biggest connection to the city, though, will never be broken. He drove in the run that won the 2008 World Series. Philadelphia will never forget that.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.