While Jobu is on vacation, enjoy one of our greatest hits as Jobu teaches a little history lesson of his own as he profiles the seven former New York Mets to throw no-hitters.
I know this post is a little late, but I have been working on it since the Humber no-hitter, so I wanted to get it out there. Also, I never miss an opportunity to make fun of the Mets. There have been 274 no-hitters in MLB history. If you take the fact that there are currently 30 teams, that’s an average of about nine per team (sort of, i know teams come and go, move, etc). Of those no-hitters, zero have been thrown by a New York Met. Well… at least not while they wore New York Mets uniforms.
When Phillip Humber threw his perfect game a few weeks ago, he became the seventh former Met to throw a no-hitter (ninth if you count Jim Bibby and A.J. Burnett, who were in the Mets minor league systems). Two of those guys even threw they’re no-nos for the Yankees. Talk about adding insult to injury! Anywho, here’s a breakdown of those former Mets who rode out of Queens and into the record books, in order of least to most hurtful to Mets fans.
This one probably isn’t too hard to stomach for Mets fans. For one, Hideo Nomo wasn’t on the Mets for very long. The Mets got Nomo with reliever Brad Clontz in a trade from the Lost Angeles Dodgers in 1998, in exchange for pitchers Greg McMichael and Dave Mlicki. Nomo was definitely in a decline when the Mets traded for him (he had famously taken the league by storm in 1995 and pitched a no-hitter at Coors Field in 1996) and was in the middle of his worst MLB season. When they acquired him, “The Tornado” was 2-7 with a 5.05 ERA in 12 starts. With the Mets, Nomo improved slightly, going 4-5 with a 4.82 ERA in 17 games (16 starts). They released him the next March, and Nomo bounced around for a couple years (Cubs organization, Brewers, Phillies for one day and the Tigers) before landing in Boston.
Nomo opened the 2001 season in the Red Sox rotation, and it didn’t take long for him to make his impression felt. On April 4th of that year, in his very first start as a Red Sox, Nomo threw a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles, walking three and striking out eleven. Now, the Mets were right to dump Nomo. He really didn’t show much when he was there, and even though he was decent in 1999 and 2000 (20-20 combined record), there was no evidence that he would ever really recover the form he had in his first couple of MLB seasons.
Total No-Hitters After Leaving the Mets: 1
Although Humber is the most recent former Met to throw a no-hitter, and his was a perfect game, I can’t think that Mets fans have too many regrets about their team letting the right-hander go when they did. Humber was drafted by the Mets with the third overall pick in 2004 out of Rice University and rose through the system fairly quickly. He made his Major League debut in 2006, and had another cup of coffee in the bigs in 2007. That off-season he was traded to the Minnesota Twins with Deolis Guerra, Kevin Mulvey and Carlos Gomez for Johan Santana (one of the worst trades in recent memory for the Twins), whom the Mets immediately signed to a long-term contract. Despite some injuries, Johan Santana gone (so far) 40-27 for the Mets, so they are getting some of their money’s worth at least.
Humber, meanwhile, was kind of a lost prospect. He was granted free agency by the Twins in 2009. He then signed with the Kansas City Royals, but was waived in December of 2010, where he was claimed by the Athletics. They waived him the next January and Humber signed with the Chicago White Sox. Last season, he came kind of out of nowhere to go 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 28 games (26 starts) for the NORTH SIDERS, and his numbers would have been better if not for a slow finish. On April 21 2012, in his second start of the season, Humber threw a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners, using only 96 pitches to get through the whole game. The Mets may have given up on him early into his career, but so did three other teams, so don’t feel too bad, Mets fans.
Total No Hitters After Leaving Mets: 1 (so far… perfect game!)
This is another guy the Mets kind of gave up on early on in his career, and he became their bitter rival in the late 1980s as a member of the Houston Astros. In the Mets’ defense, Mike Scott was not a good pitcher when he was in New York. Basically, Scott developed one of the most ridiculous splitters in the entire league after leaving Queens, and that’s why he became good. It was a case of things coming together with a new pitch, and not so much a case of negligence on the part of the Mets. On the bright side, the Mets did get Danny Heep from the Astros in the trade. Without that, the RBI Baseball for the NES season my friends and I started our freshman year of would never have been the same for me (Heep! Heep! Heep!).*
Anywho, before leaving the Mets, Scott was 14-27 with a 4.64 ERA (4.64 was way worse back then). After joining Houston, he went 110-81 with a 3.54 ERA, and won the Cy Young in 1986. Scott had his no-hitter in that 1986 season. On September 25th, he no-hit the San Francisco Giants, while walking two and striking out thirteen. It was the most dominant performance in a year full of dominating performances for Scott, and it was the perfect way to cap off his Cy Young season. Scott finished the year at 18-10, with a 2.26 ERA and a league-leading 306 Ks. The Mets, however, eventually got the last laugh by knocking the Astros out of the NLCS, even though Scott absolutely dominated that series and took home the MVP (2 starts, 2 CG, 1 SHO, 1 ER allowed, 1BB, 18 Ks). In fact, the Mets escaped by winning in six, or they would have faced Scott in game seven, and Bill Buckner never happens.
Total No-Hitters After Leaving Mets: 1
Unlike most of the guys on this list, Tom Seaver had a couple chances to pitch a no-hitter for the Mets. He came up with them in 1967, won the Rookie of the Year, and would go on to win three Cy Youngs over the next ten years before the Mets did the unthinkable, trading him to the Cincinnati Reds for a bunch of schmoes (Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman. Sadly, Seaver three times came within two outs of a no-hitter as a Met (within one out in 1975) I know it was pretty early in franchise history, but that right there should have hinted at the curse that continues to haunt them to this day. You don’t get much closer than that.
A year after the trade, on June 16, 1978 against the St. Louis Cardinals, Seaver threw finally threw a no-hitter. Seaver wasn’t perfect that day. He walked Keith Hernandez, Ken Reitz and Jerry Mumphrey. Only Keith made it to second base though (he stole a base… OK Keith… OK baby!). Seaver would spend the next five seasons in Cincinnati before eventually coming back to the Mets (in a trade for Jason Felice, Lloyd McClendon and Charlie Puelo) for the 1983 season. He would not throw a no-hitter that season. The next year, Seaver was gone again. Tom Terrific will always be loved by Mets fans, but not for throwing a no-no.
No-Hitters After Leaving Mets: 1 (none after the second time he left)
This is where things start to hurt more for Mets fans. Contrary to popular belief, David Cone did not come up through the Mets farm system. In fact, he had one major league season with his home town team, the Kansas City Royals, before they traded him to the mets with Chris Jelic for Rick Anderson, Mauro Gozzo and Ed Hean. The only guy I even remember is Ed Hearn, so I think the Mets won that 1987 trade. Cone immediately became one of the better pitchers on a very good Mets team, going 20-3 with a 2.22 ERA his first season, and winning fourteen games in each of the next three seasons. In 1992, as he approached free agency, the Mets dealt him to the Toronto Blue Jays for a PTBNL (Ryan Thompson) and Jeff Kent. Kent went on to be one of the best 2B of all time, but mostly not for the Mets… wah.
Cone signed with the Royals that winter, but was traded back to the Jays in April of 1995. At that year’s trade deadline, the Jays traded Coney to the Yankees for guys named Jason Jarvis, Mike Gordon and Marty Janzen (who??). That’s when we Yankees fans got to know David. He had a solid career as a Yankee, even winning 20 games in 1998, but 1999 is where he made his mark. On July 18th of that year, Cone used just 88 pitches to impose his will on the Montreal Expos. The memory Cone slumping to the ground and embracing Joe Girardi still gives me goose bumps, but I’m sure it makes Mets fans a little sick. Watching a former player throw a no-hitter for a crosstown rival is bad enough, but a perfect game?? Ouch!! Well, at least Coney never got his own dance (free Jobu’s Rum stickers to anyone who gets that reference).
No HItters After Leaving the Mets: 1 (perfect game!)
I wish I wasn’t two years old and living in Uruguay when Dwight Gooden first hit the big leagues in 1984. Nobody since has burst onto the scene like “Doctor K.” The Mets drafted Gooden out of high school in 1982, and he was in the major league rotation to start the 1984 season, at just nineteen years old. Pretty unbelievable. Dwight wasn’t just another arm eating up innings though. He won seventeen games, had a 2.60 ERA, led the league in strikeouts with 276 and (obviously) took home the Rookie of the Year. The next year, Doc won 24 games, put up a 1.53 ERA, led the league in strikeouts again with 268 and took home the Cy Young. He’d go on to double digit wins in seven of the next eight seasons for the Mets, but I don’t think it was ever quite the same as it was in those first two seasons.
Doc’s battles with drug abuse are no secret, so I won’t go into it too much, but the last straw for the Mets came in 1995, when he was suspended for the entire season. When he was eligible to come back in 1996, he was not welcome in Queens. Instead, Doc moved to the Bronx. George Steinbrenner, always a sucker for a comeback story, signed Gooden that off-season, and he started 29 games for the Yankees that season. None of his starts were bigger than the one against the Seattle Mariners on May 14, 1996. As far as no-hitters go, this wasn’t a particularly great one. Doc needed 134 pitches to get through the game, and he walked six guys (more than the five he struck out). At the end of the day, however, Paul Sorrento popped out to rookie Derek Jeter at short, and Gooden had his first career no-hitter.
This one has to suck for Mets fans. Here’s a guy who was the world to Mets fans for the better part of ten years. Like an abusive boyfriend he would treat them with incredible starts, but ultimately let them down when it counted the most. Then, after snorting his way out of town, he throws a no-hitter his first season away from Queens? And for the Yankees? Come on now. Some things just aren’t right. To be honest, Gooden wasn’t that great in 1996. His 5.01 ERA was pretty unsightly, and he had one of the lowest K/9 ratio (6.6) of his career. This certainly wasn’t the Dr. K mets got to know in the mid 80s, so they shouldn’t feel too bad… although the fact that Gooden got a ring that year too is probably a little annoying.
No Hitters After Leaving the Mets: 1
Do I really have to explain this one? This is not only the most painful ex-met no-hit pitcher for Mets fans. This ex-met was also traded away in one of the worst transactions in franchise history! On top of that, he didn’t throw just one no-hitter after leaving the Mets. He threw seven! SEVEN! How did this happen?
The Mets drafted Nolan Ryan in the twelfth round of the 1965 amateur draft. Ryan debuted for the Mets in 1966, but didn’t become a regular contributor until the 1968 season. He even contributed to the improbable world championship of the Amazins in 1969. Just two years later, the Mets would trade Ryan to the (then) California Angels. I wish I could tell you Mets fans that they got back the motherlode of prospects from the Angels for the then 24-year old hurler with the golden arm. I wish I could tell you the players they got back for Ryan helped the Mets win several world championships. Really, I wish I could tell you they got back anything other than what they actually got back. Jim Fregosi. The Mets gave up Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi. Jim Fregosi! Actually, to be accurate, they gave up Nolan Ryan, Frank Estrada, Don Rose and Leroy Stanton for Jim Fregosi. Jim Fregosi!! Fregosi was coming off of a season in which he hit .233, and the Mets gave up four players for him. And one of them was Nolan Ryan!
Anyway, I’m not going to go into detail on all seven of Ryan’s no-hitters, because this post is already way too long, so here’s a short list, courtesy of nonohitters.com.
- May 15, 1973 – California Angles 3, Kansas City Royals 0 in Kansas City
- June 15, 1973 – California Angels 6, Detroit Tigers 0 in Detroit
- Sept. 28, 1974 – California Angels 4, Minnesota Twins 0 in California
- June 1, 1975 – California Angels 1 Baltimore Orioles 0 in California
- Sept. 26, 1981 – Houston Astros 5 Los Angeles Dodgers 0 in Houston
- June 11, 1990 – Texas Rangers 5 Oakland A’s 0 in Oakland
- May 1, 1991 – Texas Rangers 3 Toronto Blue Jays 0 in Texas
By the way, Jim Fregosi hit .232 for the Mets in 1972, and was hitting .234 for them in 1973 before they sold him to the Texas Rangers. Nice work, Mets. Can you imagine how many world championships the Mets would have won in the 1980s if they had kept Nolan Ryan? At least they got one, which is one more than Ryan got after leaving the Mets. Take some solace in that, Mets fans.
No-Hitters After Leaving the Mets: 7
Feature image courtesy of: (MEARS Photo LOA Cert)
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