Baseball’s Timeless One-Hit Wonders

So THIS is What it Feels Like to Throw a No-Hitter

In what is essentially spam I’ve voluntarily signed up for yet don’t remember exactly when or why, I get breaking news updates from WEEI (I also get e-mails from Broadway across America, so if you were the one who signed me up for that, you’re dead to me). Normally trashed as soon as the light starts blinking red on my blackberry, today, I was given pause.

Today, greeting me was the headline: Santana Ends No-Hit Drought

My first and only thought was somewhere close to, “holy hell, the Mets have finally thrown a no-hitter.” Now I know, I know, Johan Santana hasn’t pitched this year and might be on the shelve until next year, but in my defense I stopped paying attention to the blow by blow of the 2011 Mets’ season sometime in late 2008.

The elation was quickly subdued as I realize that I had basically just asserted myself as being a less informed Mets fan than any caller in the history WFAN. But then some Wikipedia browsing informed me that I wasn’t totally incorrect. At least Ervin Santana used to be named Johan before changing it to avoid confusion. The name Ervin, well that was just because he thought it sounded good  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ervin_Santana#Name).

Still, he is no high than fifth on my personal “guys with a surname of Santana” list, trailing the real Johan, Carlos (guitarist), Carlos (Indians’ catcher) and of course Dipset member Julez Santana, but as random Dominican pitchers go, I kind of like him, and thus am happy for him. For the Angels on the other hand, not so much.

Their last no hitter came in 1984. The Mets’ last no-no came, well, never. As it seems unfair to count the 80-someodd years of baseball history that don’t actually include the Mets, the drought can only go back to 1962, putting their 49-year run of futility at nearly double the Angels’ drought.

Jae Seo: One of the Mets Many Immortal One-Hit Wonders

Of course the Mets history is not one with a dearth of close calls. In nearly 8,000 games of baseball the Mets have totaled 35 one-hitters (http://www.nonohitters.com/onehitters). Tom Seaver himself has five, including a trio that were lost in the final innings, and finally went the distance the first year he left. Even Bobby Jones (the white one) threw one in the playoffs. There was a stretch of two in three days (with the Mets getting one-hit by Dontrelle Willis in between) featuring Steve Trachsel and a three-man effort spearheaded by the immortal Jae Seo. All that’s missing from the list are appearances by Rick Reed and Masato Yoshii.

The Mets have been no-hit against six times so far, and it’s a much better bet for that to happen again — at least while offensive standouts like Willie Harris calls Citi Field home — then for the boys from Queens to finally get off the schneid. That is what made my brief confusion so exciting. At this point I can’t even expect that the Mets will pull it off. I expect the beaten, downtrodden and otherwise worthless fourth and fifth starter to give up a hit in the first inning, just as I do from “aces” like Mike Pelfry.

When it finally does happen it’ll be by someone along the lines of Bud Smith or Dallas Braden will do the deed and then fade into obscurity as an answer to an Aflac Trivia question in 2050. I saw David Wells’ drunken perfecto. I caught two no-hitters as a little leaguer. There has been an absolute rash of no-nos after the (alleged) end of the Steroids era. But will I see the Mets get one anytime soon? Not unless the real Johan will come back to save me.

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