Johan Santana took the mound for the New York Mets on June 1, 2012 for what seemed like a regular start. Nine innings and 134 pitches later, he made history at Citi Field.
It’s hard to believe after what we’ve seen in recent weeks, but the New York Mets are an organization rooted in top-notch starting pitching.
Names like Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, David Cone, and Al Leiter are just a few of the names littered throughout the franchise record books. None of them accomplished what Johan Santana did against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 1, 2012, however.
It took 50 years as a franchise and a $137.5 million investment in a single player, but the Mets finally saw one of their pitchers toss a no-hitter. Who wouldn’t want to relive that magical night? Here’s a look at all 27 outs recorded, with some being more eventful than others.
Blasts from the past like this are always fun, but it also gives us some perspective on the situation itself. The one that jumps out the most is Santana accomplishing this feat with Lucas Duda playing right field that night.
The video also reminded us that New York had guys like Ike Davis and Omar Quintanilla in the starting lineup. And thank goodness for Mike Baxter. His big-league career didn’t go at all how he hoped, but he never has to buy himself a drink whenever he comes home.
Mentioning this incredible moment wouldn’t be complete without also bringing up Santana’s 134 pitches, which probably still haunts Terry Collins. The southpaw wouldn’t change that night for anything, but it was also his last signature moment as a big leaguer.
Santana pitched just about every five days through August 17 of that year and hasn’t toed the rubber of an MLB mound since. If we use his no-hitter as the benchmark, his performance took a steep dive following that historic performance.
Through June 1 of the 2012 season, Santana owned a 2.38 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with a 25.1 percent strikeout rate in 68 total innings. Over his final 49 innings, though, those numbers worsened dramatically to 8.27, 1.76, and 18.9 percent, respectively.
We all know what happened after that. The left-hander tore his shoulder capsule for the second time in 2013, forcing him to miss the entire season while officially putting an end to his Mets career. He did sign minor-league deals with the Baltimore Orioles (2014) and Toronto Blue Jays (2015), but a torn Achilles tendon and a toe infection ended each of those comeback attempts.
It’s up for debate as to exactly how much those 134 pitches impacted the rest of Santana’s career. Still, he’ll always be thought of in high regard by Mets fans, and for good reason — he was able to give the organization something they waited for a half century to witness.