(Long Island, NY) Think of all the great names that have stood upon the pitcher’s mound at Shea Stadium. Tom Seaver, Jon Matlack, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Al Leiter, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine. Some of these names have pitched no-hitters in their storied careers. But never wearing the blue and orange.
More than seven thousand games have gone by for the Mets, and we are still waiting. Several ex-Mets have found their place in baseball history wearing other laundry. Seaver threw his gem as a member of the Cincinnati Reds in 1978, following the ‘Midnight Massacre’ deals on June 15th, 1977. Ryan of course went on to be the no-hit king, with seven throughout his long career with the California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. Gooden (1996) and Cone (1999 perfect game) did it in New York, just that it was in the Bronx instead of Queens. Mike Scott re-energized his career in Houston and can hang his Astros hat on a no-hitter as a member of that team in 1986. Even also-ran names such as Hideo Nomo (1999) and Alejandro Pena have been added to the list, although Pena’s was only as a part of a combined no-hitter in 1991.
They have come close. Just this past Sunday in Houston, the Mets threw a one-hitter for the 30th time in team history. Orlando ‘El Duque’ Hernandez combined with Roberto Hernandez and Darren Oliver to hold the Astros at bay offensively, but still lost the game by a score of 2-1. Of the five that Seaver had himself, two were broken up in the ninth inning. Steve Traschel has even thrown two. How about some of the more obscure names on the one-hitter list: Al Jackson (1962); Jack Hamilton (1966); Terry Leach (1982); Pete Schourek (1991); Bobby Jones (2000 Divisional Series versus San Francisco); Glendon Rusch (2001); Shawn Estes (2002) and a combined effort in 2003 from Jae Seo, David Weathers and Armando Benitez.
Ryan teased Mets fans with a near-miss in 1970. Gary Gentry had Roberto Clemente and Ernie Banks break up two of his bids in 1970 and 1971. Matlack also had consecutive years with close calls, starting in 1973. Doc had one in his rookie season of 1984. Ron Darling and a combined try from Sid Fernandez and Roger McDowell were two that just didn’t make it the following season. Cone has been involved in three, 1988 and two in 1991. The modern-day Mets have come close, especially with Glavine’s being spoiled by an eighth-inning hit against Colorado at Shea on May23, 2004.
No-hitters are special in baseball. But Met fans will worry about that another day. A World Series championship in 2006 will take away much of the sting from not having one.