The New York Mets announced on Monday that they will be commemorating the 10th anniversary of Johan Santana’s historic no-hitter with the team during a pregame ceremony on May 31 against the Washington Nationals.
On June 1, 2012, Santana threw 134 pitches to blank the St. Louis Cardinals for the first-ever no-hitter thrown in Mets franchise history after a grand total of 8,019 regular-season games played.
“I can’t believe it’s been 10 years almost since we made history,” Santana said on Monday afternoon. “Every time you look back, you think about it. You bring back those memories. I couldn’t believe I’d done that… It’s part of history now.”
It was the crowning moment of Santana’s four-year stint with the Mets in what proved to be his final season in the pros.
After he was acquired from the Minnesota Twins before the 2008 season as a two-time AL Cy Young Award winner, Santana met high expectations with the Mets by going 40-25 with a 2.85 ERA over his first three seasons with the team. That included a 2008 season in which he finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting by going 16-7 with a league-leading 2.53 ERA.
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His career came to a screeching halt when he was forced to miss the 2011 season due to a shoulder injury — which made the heavy workload during his no-hitter a bit controversial due to the drop-off in production following that night.
After striking out David Freese for the final out of that historic night, Santana lowered his 2012 season ERA to 2.38 over 11 starts. Over his final 10 starts of that season, he posted an 8.27 ERA, with many speculating that the 134 pitch effort emptied the proverbial tank of his career.
Of course, that didn’t matter to Santana, who didn’t need to do much to convince former Mets manager Terry Collins to go out for the ninth inning despite having thrown 122 pitches.
“[Collins] asked me how I felt. I felt good and I wasn’t coming out. He told me I was his hero,” Santana said. “I think 120, 130, 135 pitches, it didn’t matter. I had an opportunity to do something that was never done.
“We were this close to making history. You take that chance. It wasn’t just about you and how you feel.”
His catcher that night, Josh Thole, will also be on-hand to celebrate Santana’s no-no.
“It’ll be a day that lives with me forever,” Thole said. “That’s the only thing in my career that I do tend to talk about because it’s very special to me.”