9:48 PM Eastern Daylight Time on the night of June 1, 2012, on the 8,120th baseball game in the history of the New York Mets, beginning as an expansion team in 1962, the year I was born, I lived to see the first no hitter in franchise history. And who better to pitch it than Johan Santana, the current ace who just came off major shoulder surgery. I have seen many baseball game, especially Met games, and I will never forget this night.
I was six years old, less than a month from my seventh birthday on July 8, 1969, when I sat in the upper deck section 1 (right behind home plate) to see Tom Seaver perfect for 8 1/3 innings. Back then $1.30 got you general admission in the upper deck above the sidewalk that separated the upper deck boxes from what would be sold as reserved seats in the later years. Chicago Cubs Jimmy Qualls gets a seeing eye single to short left field.
I watched a game in 1984 on TV where Dwight “Doc” Gooden pitched a one-hitter in Pittsburgh on a single getting by Ray Knight’s glove at 3B that my father and I both thought should have been scored an error. There was David Cohen, Al Leiter, Sid Fernandez, etc., a franchise built on pitching.
When the Mets came to being in 1962, a supermarket chain called King Corn (long defunct) offered one million S & H Green Stamps to any Met pitcher who threw a no hitter. WFAN radio broadcaster Howie Rose referred to the Mets inability to throw a no hitter The King Corn Curse. I bet you Howie Rose would love to find a old King Corn sign and shoot a paintball gun at it.
In a season that will most-likely end with a sub-500 finish, either fourth place or the cellar, this is the highlight of the season for me and it makes it worth it for me to be a die-hard Met fan in these [rebuilding] times. I tip my hat to Johan Santana. OK Etta James, belt it out,” AT LAST…”