The New York Mets And The Elusive No-Hitter

Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter, on average, every 3.7 starts. I didn’t look up the exact numbers, but it’s something like that. He made 74 starts for the New York Mets. Statistically speaking, he should have thrown 20 no-hitters for the Mets.

Not a one. Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter for 10 percent of the current franchises in Major League Baseball. He threw four for the California Angels, but none for the Mets.

Dwight Gooden might have had the most electric arm that baseball has ever seen. It’s a debate for another time, but Gooden at his peak has to be in the discussion. When he was 20, he struck out 268 batters with a 1.53 ERA. He didn’t throw a no-hitter for the Mets, either.

If there’s such a thing as an underrated inner-circle Hall of Famer, Tom Seaver might be it. He made 361 starts for the Mets, and only once did he have an ERA over 3.00 in a season. He led the National League twice in hits per nine innings pitched; after his rookie season, he never finished worse than seventh in that category. He was one of the hardest pitchers to hit since the end of the dead-ball era. He didn’t throw a no-hitter for the Mets. A year after leaving the Mets, he threw one for the Reds. Of course he did.

Jerry Koosman, David Cone, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Sid Fernandez, Jon Matlack. Nope on all counts. They’ve had nine players hit for the cycle -- more rare than a no-hitter, statistically. But even with all of the great pitching to pass through the organization, they've never even lucked into a no-hitter. Fifty years. Over 7800 games. Nothing.

Right now, someone on the Florida Marlins has a no-hitter through six innings. One of you might be thinking, "Hey, that’s not true! I’m reading this at 4 in the morning!" But you’re wrong. Go to MLB.com right now. The headline will be "Anibal Sanchez Or Josh Johnson Or Someone Is Throwing A No-Hitter Or Some Crap And We Don’t Even Really Care Anymore." Every time. That’s the top story there right now, and the odds are at least 50/50 that the Marlin will complete the no-hitter.

New York Mets have thrown 34 one-hitters. Thirty-four. It’s hard to pick which one was the cruelest tease ... Was it one of the bids lost in the ninth, like in 1969 or 1972? One of the failed bids in the eighth inning (1970, 1985, 1991, 2004, and 2007) that was lost on a broken-bat bloop, or a defensive miscue that wasn’t miscueant enough to be an error?

Special consideration for the cruelest one-hit tease goes to this one from 1970, in which the first hitter of the game got the only hit, and this game from last year in which Cole Hamels had the only hit of the game off R.A. Dickey. There’s a unique kind of annoying that goes along with those two -- a pleasing aesthetic balance of frustration and amusement.

Dillon Gee had a no-hitter through five innings on Thursday afternoon. People started to get excited. Twitter was abuzz. But it didn’t happen because no-hitters don’t happen for the Mets. At this point, it’s a lot more interesting for them to keep it up.

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