Nelson Figueroa, class of ’96/’98, played baseball at Brandeis from 1992-1995. On June 6, 1995 Nelson was drafted in the 30th round of the amatuer baseball draft by the New York Mets. On June 3, 2000 Nelson made his major league debut as part of the Arizona Diamondbacks, becoming the first Brandeis Alumni to reach the major leagues.
During the past 14 years Nelson has continued to play professional baseball with a number of major league affiliated teams (Arizona Diamondbacks (twice), Philadelphia Phillies (twice), Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates (twice), Washington Nationals (AAA), Seattle Mariners, New York Mets (twice, A – big leagues), Houston Astros,Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees (AAA), Boston Red Sox (AAA) as well as a short three weeks in independent baseball with the Long Island Ducks, a season in the Mexican Summer League with the Dorados de Chihuahua (All-star), and Chinese Professional Baseball League – Uni President 7-11 Lions (twice, MVP of Taiwan Series( 2007), mid season All-star (2014), interim pitching coach in 2013, assistant pitching coach, 2014) In addition Nelson was named a AAA All-star 3 times (1999, 2003, 2009). Nelson participated in the Mexican, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, and Dominican Republic winter ball leagues (numerous times, MVP of Dominican Finals 2007, 2010, 4 championships in 6 seasons. Twice awarded the Right Handed Pitcher Award of the Caribbean series. Member of the Championship Caribbean Series Team in 2009). Nelson also was a member of the Puerto Rican World Baseball Classic Team in 2009, 2013. In 2013 Team Puerto Rico was the silver medalist in that competition and Nelson was named to the Met-Life All-World Team that consisted of the top 12 players of that competition.
Nelson had his jersey retired at Brandeis University in October, 2009.
Outside of playing, Nelson has also sponsored a Coney Island Little League baseball team.
Nelson has transitioned from playing professional baseball to Mets pregame and post game announcer on SNY.