I sat watching this game not in my centerfieldmaz room but in the living room with a chance at the TV after a long day/week of work. As the game rolled on I thought (as I did every time a Mets pitcher went into the 5th inning with a not hitter) this could be the night. But usually it doesn't work out so the tension didn't mount for me until the 7th / 8th innings.
By then I didn't move from my spot on the couch, no calls, no texts no moves. I admit it was one of my happiest regular season Mets moments as an emotional wave went through me. After all these years & all the great pitchers that I have seen get close to a no hitter, tonight the Mets finally had a pitcher toss a no hitter.
As a diehard fan from a very young age, I remember my favorite player of all time Tom Seaver getting so close five times, but ending up with one hitters.
Yes, I remember the 35 one hitters by the likes of: Nolan Ryan, Gary Gentry ( twice), Jon Matlack (twice), David Cone (twice), Steve Trachsel (twice), Terry Leach, Bobby Jones, Sean Estes, Tom Glavine, John Maine, Pete Schourek, Jonathon Niese , RA Dickey & the combined efforts as well.
I was even at Shea Stadium in September 1984 for Dwight Gooden's one hitter, when a Ray Knight's miscue at third base was ruled a hit. Just like announcers Gary Cohen & Howie Rose said, I almost felt like I'd never see one in my lifetime.
But last night Johan Santana the greatest Mets pitcher of this era finally did it as Cohen called it: "He struck him out! It has happened. In their 51st season, Johan Santana has thrown the first no-hitter in New York Mets history.”
Oh Bob Murphy I can hear your call if you were still with us for the happy recap!!
The game began with the surprising 2012 New York Mets one game out of first place in a tight NL East. Johan Santana was 2-2 but suffered from lack of run support as his 2.75 ERA proves. His return from shoulder surgery this season has been very successful. Remember, in his last outing he threw a complete game four hit shutout against the San Diego Padres.
Tonight the Mets certainly gave him enough run support, eight runs led by Lucas Duda with a three run HR & an RBI sac fly.
Things got interesting in the 6th inning when a Carlos Beltran line drive was called foul when it appeared it may have been fair on replays.
In any event that the way it goes, the ruling stands, foul ball. Then in the 7th Queens native, Mike Baxter chased a Yadier Molina fly ball to deep left over his head. He made a spectacular leaping catch crashing into wall & injuring himself in heroic fashion. Daniel Murphy made a nice grab at a liner from Carlos Beltran in the 8th inning, as did Andres Torres for the first out of the 9th off the bat of Matt Holiday.
With the Shea fans on their feet going wild and the rest of us at home hanging on to the edge of our seats, Allen Craig flied out to Jeff Nieuwenhuis for out number two. As the tension mounted like it was the World Series, I thought of Tom Seaver & Dwight Gooden, Jimmy Qualls, Joe Wallis & Leron Lee (see below). Then with two strikes Santana struck out David Freese for the historic third out, for the first time in Mets history Mets fans saw a Mets no hitter. A tear jerker for sure. Oh what a great day in Mets history & it will be remembered forever.
The announcers knew how important it was to the us long time fans as did Santana himself. He said "I am very happy & happy for you guys, the first one" as he acknowledged the Citi Field crowd after the game. A special Thanks to manager Terry Collins & pitching coach Dan Warthen who let Santana finish out the game with 134 pitches, almost twenty more pitches than they wanted him to throw.
Across the country another great Mets pitcher, Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan who was throwing out the first pitch at a game in Anaheim between his former Angels team & his current team he's the GM over, the Texas Rangers commented on the feat.
"They've had a lot of history of one-hitters, and it's because of the great pitchers they've had there," Ryan said. "When you think of Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden there, and some of the other guys, it's amazing they never did."
"Short of Tom Seaver, I couldn't think of a better guy to have this recognition," Mets third baseman David Wright said.