Sure, some sports are back. But "sports" as we know them are largely still on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today is Day 82 without sports. ⚾️
The New York Mets, a franchise with a rich history of outstanding starting pitchers from Nolan Ryan to Tom Seaver to Dwight Gooden, existed for 50 years before anyone ever threw a no-hitter in a Mets uniform.
But eight years ago today, Johan Santana finally accomplished the feat when he held the St. Louis Cardinals hitless in an 8-0 victory. It was a fantastic comeback for Santana at age 33 after missing the previous season due to a shoulder injury.
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Mets pitcher Johan Santana celebrates his no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 1, 2012. (Photo: Tim Farrell, The Star-Ledger)
Santana was perhaps the majors' most dominant pitcher from 2003-08, winning two Cy Young awards with the Minnesota Twins and finishing in the top seven in the voting each of the other four seasons.
His MLB career was relatively short, but brilliant with a career record of 139-78 (.641 winning percentage) and 3.20 ERA. But when he was finally eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018, Santana received just 2.4% of the vote and — by Hall of Fame rules — was removed from the ballot.
Such a shame. First of all, that injuries didn't allow him to pitch any longer than 12 years. And also that he never really had a chance to have his Cooperstown case considered. In 2018, Jim Thome and Chipper Jones also appeared on the ballot for the first time. Five other eventual Hall of Famers were also on that ballot, in addition to polarizing candidates Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
Even if writers wanted to consider voting for Santana, it was hard to fit him in and stay within the 10-player maximum. Now, it's almost certain he wouldn't have been elected if voters could vote for as many candidates as they wanted … but there have still been some pretty good players over the past decade who only had one appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Top 10 one-and-done HOF candidates of the 2010s:
Kenny Lofton (68.4 career WAR)
Kevin Brown (67.8)
Jim Edmonds (60.4)
John Olerud (58.1)
Johnny Damon (56.3)
Robin Ventura (56.1)
Kevin Appier (54.5)
David Wells (53.5)
Lance Berkman (52.0)
Johan Santana (51.7)
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Perhaps it's a little easier for ex-Mets to throw no-hitters in a different uniform. Ryan holds the major league record with seven, but all of them came after he left Queens.
And after tossing five one-hitters for the Mets — and having two no-hit bids broken up in the ninth inning — the great Tom Seaver finally got one in his first full season after being traded from the Mets to the Reds.
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June 1 in sports history
1925: With a pinch-hitting appearance, Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees begins his record-setting streak of 2,130 consecutive games played.
1975: California Angels pitcher Nolan Ryan, 28, ties an MLB record with his fourth career no-hitter, shutting out the Baltimore Orioles 1-0. He would toss three more in his career for a total of seven.
1979: The Seattle SuperSonics defeat the the Washington Bullets in five games to win the NBA title, the first professional sports championship for the city of Seattle. It has yet to win one in MLB or the NFL.
1992: The Pittsburgh Penguins sweep the Chicago Blackhawks to win their second consecutive Stanley Cup title.
2019: Mexican-American boxer Andy Ruiz Jr. scores a huge upset with a TKO of Anthony Joshua to win the IBF, WBO, IBO and WBA world heavyweight titles.
Sports on TV
NFL (classic): It's Super Bowl Week in America on NBC Sports Network, with each day dedicated to unforgettable moments and incredible performances on a particular Super Bowl Sunday. Today: Super Bowl XIII between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys.
Kickoff is at 8 p.m. ET with NBC's broadcast team of Curt Gowdy, John Brodie and Merlin Olsen.
MLB (classic): Two left-handers who excelled in the postseason are featured on MLB Network replays today. Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks struck out 11 in shutting out the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the 2001 World Series. That game will be shown at 4 p.m. ET.
Then at 11:30 p.m. ET, watch the San Francisco Giants' Madison Bumgarner toss another gem against the Kansas City Royals in Game 5 of the 2014 World Series.
NBA (classic):NBA TV travels back to Game 5 of the 1993 Western Conference Finals with the Charles Barkley-led Phoenix Suns battling the Seattle SuperSonics at 6 p.m. ET.
Then at 9 p.m. ET, catch a pop-up broadcast of Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder as LeBron James caps his first NBA title run with a triple-double.
Soccer (live): USMNT player Tyler Adams likely will feature for RB Leipzig when they visit Cologne to play FC Köln at 2:30 p.m. ET on FS2.
Follow Steve Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner.
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