These days when Pelfrey has so much -- a big league career, a place in the Mets' starting rotation, and at age 25, financial security -- he fully recognizes what he had then.
"I know my dad and mom did without things they needed and wanted so my brother and I could have everything we needed and wanted," Pelfrey said. "They sacrificed for us. I'll always appreciate what they did."
Clearly Stan Madden, Pelfrey's stepfather, stood taller than his 5-10 frame. And he supported and served his family.
"He's a cut above," Pelfrey says now. "You don't realize it when you're growing up, but he was such an influence. I know he treated us great, so you grow up just thinking that's the way it is."
And soon he will have his chance to make it that way. Sunday is the last Father's Day which Pelfrey will experience as a spectator. He and his wife, Angela, married in November, are expecting a baby in mid-August.
"I'm really getting excited now," Pelfrey said.
He's been around infants; his brother Greg, a year older than he, has children, so Pelfrey has a sense of what to expect.
"And that's why I'm so excited to become a father," he said.
The doctors have told the first-time parents their child will be a boy -- but only after they had been told a girl was on the way. Pelfrey called Angela from the clubhouse in Spring Training. She told him, "We're gonna have a girl." Pelfrey was surprised.
"I had my mind set on having a boy," Pelfrey said. "But I made the adjustment. I started thinking it would be cool to have a little girl.
"Then [five months into Angela's pregnancy] I was all for it, so when they said, 'No, it's a boy,' it was a little disappointing. I had my mindset on having a girl. But I got over that, too. Now I just want a healthy baby."
The chosen name for the boy is Chase -- as in Utley, but baby Pelfrey won't be named after the Phillies' second baseman. It was suggested to the father-to-be, his son could be named after the pennant chase. And he liked that idea.
The Pelfreys intend to spoil Chase -- to a degree.
"We always say we'll get him whatever he needs, like my mom and dad did for my brother and me," Pelfrey said. "But we will teach him the value of a dollar. My parents taught me that."
But all the teaching and upbringing must wait for a while. The pregnancy has begun to drag its feet.
"I wish August was here," Pelfrey says. "He's moving around in there, kicking. He's anxious, too."
Madden was a football and amateur wrestling fan; Pelfrey, of course, is all about baseball now.
"I'm not going to push him to baseball. But I hope he has my right arm ... and his left arm," the father-to-be said. "And I hope he's tall. The doctor predicted he'll be 23 or 24 inches. I was 10 weeks early, and I was 22 inches."
And now he's 57 inches taller.
"I want him to look up to me," Pelfrey said.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.