For four-and-a-half seasons, NoNoHitters.com devoted its efforts to the New York Mets’ dubious streak of having never pitched a no-hitter in franchise history. On June 1, 2012, in the team’s 51st Major League Baseball season, that streak ended thanks to Johan Santana. Santana scattered five walks and struck out eight during the 8-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Santana’s no-no left the San Diego Padres as the only franchise without a no-hitter, and anointed the circa-1969 Padres with newfound infamy as the team with the longest drought. We’ve since retooled the main NoNoHitters.com site around all baseball no-hitters with a special section following the Padres’ streak, which finally ended in 2021.
The Mets’ drought stretched into the team’s 50th season. It started when the St. Louis Cardinals’ Julian Javier singled to left off Mets starter Roger Craig on April 11, 1962, during the Mets franchise’s first Major League game. It ended with Santana’s no-hitter, and the Mets added a second no-no — a five-pitcher effort — in 2022. Here the details of the Mets’ 50-year drought:
A Mets pitcher never hurled a no-hitter before Johan?
That’s correct. A pitcher on the mound for the New York Mets never threw a no-no before 2012.
Really? What about Ryan, Seaver and guys like that?
Yes, Nolan Ryan pitched seven no-hitters during his Hall of Fame career, but they all came after he was traded by the Mets. And Tom Seaver finally got his sole no-hitter as a Cincinnati Reds hurler during his first season away from the Mets. In fact, over the long drought, seven former Mets pitched no-hitters after leaving New York. Mike Scott (Houston Astros), Dwight Gooden (New York Yankees) David Cone (Yankees), Hideo Nomo (Boston Red Sox) and Philip Humber (Chicago White Sox) round out the list.
Were there also Mets pitchers who threw no-hitters prior to joining the Mets?
Yep. Don Cardwell (Chicago Cubs), Warren Spahn (Milwaukee Braves), Dean Chance (Minnesota Twins), Dock Ellis (Pittsburgh Pirates, while tripping on acid), John Candelaria (Pittsburgh Pirates), Bret Saberhagen (Kansas City Royals), Al Leiter (Florida Marlins), Scott Erickson (Minnesota Twins), Kenny Rogers (Texas Rangers) and Hideo Nomo (Los Angeles Dodgers) all did it during the drought. Note that Nomo is the only pitcher to hurl no-nos before and after his stint with the Mets.
There must be pitchers that have no-hit the Mets, right?
You are correct. Seven pitchers threw no-hitters against the Mets during the tenure of the streak. Sandy Koufax, Jim Bunning, Bob Moose, Bill Stoneman, Ed Halicki and Darryl Kile no-hit the Mets before Santana’s no-no, and two pitchers have done it since: Chris Heston and Max Scherzer.
Was the Mets’ no-hitter drought the longest in Major League Baseball history
No. The Mets streak lasted 50+ seasons and 8,019 regular-season games. The San Diego Padres, an N.L. team that begin play in 1969, didn’t notch their first no-hitter until 2021 — with that streak going 52+ seasons and 8,205 regular -season games. But neither of those streaks top the Philadelphia Phillies’ drought.
Though not from the franchise’s inception, the Phillies were void of a no-hitter for 58 years, 1 month, 18 days between 1906 and 1964. The 8,945-game-long streak began on May 3, 1906, one game after Phillies’ southpaw Johnny Lush threw a 6-0 no-hitter against the Brooklyn Superbas. It ended on June 21, 1964, when Jim Bunning threw a 6-0 perfect game against the Mets during a Father’s Day doubleheader at Shea.
OK, so why did I launch a Web site devoted to this?
To break the New York Mets’ curse.
Yeah … right
I understand the skepticism, but hear me out. I am a lifelong Mets fan, but my football team is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On Dec. 5, 2007, I launched the now defunct PointOfNoReturns.com, a site dedicated to the Bucs’ equally dubious streak of never returning a kickoff for a touchdown. Eleven days after launch — 11 days! — Michael Spurlock returned a kickoff for a touchdown, ending 31¾ years of futility. Coincidence? Who knows, but I thought a Mets no-hitters site was worth a try.
So were the Mets really cursed? How did that happen?
Well it’s no surprise that the Mets didn’t throw a no-hitter through most of the 1960s as they simply weren’t that good of a team. But with Ryan, Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack on the roster, the Mets surely had enough talent on the roster from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s to get it done. Some trace the curse back to Dec. 10, 1971, when the Mets traded Nolan Ryan along with pitcher Don Rose, catcher Francisco Estrada and outfielder Leroy Stanton to the California Angels for infielder Jim Fregosi. Ryan went on to throw seven no-nos and the Mets remained without a no-no until 2012.
Hey, back up a few sections there. Did you say that Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter while tripping on acid?
Yes, and it’s apparently not an urban legend. He thought the Pirates had a day off and decided to drop a few tabs before realizing that Pittsburgh had a doubleheader and he was scheduled to pitch Game 1. The Dallas Observer, an alternative weekly, had a comprehensive retelling of the odd feat, quoting a then drug-free Ellis, who passed away in 2008. The win apparently wasn’t pretty, as Ellis walked eight and hit at least one batter.
Back to the Mets, I’m pretty sure they had some one-hitters, right?
Yes, 40 to date, including two taken into the ninth inning by Tom Seaver. (We’re begrudgingly including the including two 2007 rain-shortened one-hitters by Tom Glavine and John Maine in our count. Ridiculous baseball rules consider rain-shortened one-hitters as one-hitters, but not rain-shortened no-hitters as no-hitters.)