The 40 Best Starters to Never Throw a No-Hitter for the New York Mets

by M.C. Antil on June 4, 2012

As I was grazing on a few baseball games over the past few days following Johan Santana’s 134-pitch no-hitter against St. Louis, the first in the 51-year history of the New York Mets, I can’t tell you how often I came upon one home team announcer or color man who, after noting Santana’s historic achievement, started to tick off some of the iconic names the Mets have had in their rotation over the years.  

No announcer, however, went that deep.

Given that, I made a brief trip into the Mets media guide this morning and came up with these 40 names, all of whom pitched at least two years in Queens (at least part of the time as a starter), all of whom had at least one great season in the big leagues, and all of whom had ample opportunity to toss a no-no as a Metropolitan, but failed to do so.

And honesty compels me to admit it’s one impressive list; one that includes maybe 25 All Stars, at half dozen or so guys who’ve at least been in discussion for the Hall of Fame, and seven guys who threw at least one no-hitter before or after they played in New York. 

So here they are; one man’s opinion of the 40 best starting pitchers who, from April of 1962 through May of 2012, colletively failed to throw even a single no-hitter while hurling for the New York Mets.

Top 40 Starters in N.Y. Met History
Rick Aguilera

Kris Benson

Buzz Capra

David Cone

Ron Darling

R.A. Dickey

Sid Fernandez

Danny Frisella

Gary Gentry

Tom Glavine

Dwight Gooden

Pete Harnisch

Orlando Hernandez

Philip Humber

Jason Isringhausen

Al Jackson

Bobby J. Jones

Randy Jones

Jerry Koosman

Tim Leary

Al Leiter

Pedro Martinez

Jon Matlack

Jim McAndrew

Hideo Nomo

Bob Ojeda

Oliver Perez

Robert Person

Nolan Ryan

Bret Saberhagen

Ray Sadeki

Pete Schourek

Tom Seaver

Mike Scott

Craig Swan

Frank Tanana

Walt Terrell

Frank Viola

Anthony Young

Pat Zachary


And this list, mind you, doesn’t include pitchers like Pedro Astacio, Paul Byrd, Mark Clark, Roger Craig, Nino Espinoza, Nelson Figueroa, Ed Lynch, Pat Mahomes, Dick Selma or any of the dozens of workman-like but entirely capable Met starters over the years who could have gone out any given night and – their stuff and the baseball gods willing – reasonably tossed a no-hitter.

Nor does it include such all-time greats and near-legends as Dean Chance, Orel Hershiser, Mickey Lolich, Kenny Rogers and Warren Spahn, each of whom pitched for the Mets for a season at the tail end of their careers.


P75 July 3, 2012 at 6:33 am

Some of the pitchers on the list make me realize just how painful being a Mets fan has been at times.  My first memories have Craig Swan as the staff ace, and he was hardly dominating.  Oliver Perez, though he had one good year, seems as cursed in Mets’ lore as Macbeth, and deservedly so.  In a list of 40, I may have gone with Pelfrey instead, although he would have developed innumerable twitches by the 9th.  This leaves me wondering about the top 10 because some great names would have to be left off.

Anonymous July 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Great point.  A real interesting list would have been the ten best pitchers in Met history to never throw a no-hitter.  That list would trigger all kinds of debate.  And I love the Macbeth parallel.  Seems painfully apt.

Tmccall June 19, 2012 at 10:19 am

I grew up in NYC and can remember seeing the MET back in ‘ 62. On my list of great baseball nicknames was “vinegar bend mizell” not one of the top 40 picthers in MET history, but for my money one of the top 5 MET pitcher nicknames.

Mike O'Halloran June 9, 2012 at 11:31 am

i saw oliver perez…was there another oliver perez in the 70s?

M C Antil June 11, 2012 at 7:36 am

Yeah, Mike, I know.  Perez was pretty awful for the Mets.  But what he had with Pittsburgh, and what he showed every so often for the Mets (albeit rarely), was the ability to show some amazing stuff.  But you’re right, he was pretty much a nightmare while a Met.  Thanks for the input.

Joe L June 9, 2012 at 7:10 am

Did you seriously put Phil Humber as one of the Mets top 40 starters ever? Geez. 

M C Antil June 11, 2012 at 7:31 am

Joe:  I’ll admit that Humber was not a great Met starter.  But since he had it in him to become one of — what, 18 men — to pitch a perfect game, since this was a story about being on the Mets and not throwing a no-hitter, I figured I’d include him.

But youre right, he’s certainly not one of the great Mets’ starters.

MetzFanAZ June 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Philip Humber a Top 40 all time Mets Starter?

Paul Wilson had a better Mets career. Whatevs….

M C Antil June 11, 2012 at 7:34 am

Like I responded to another comment, a man later throws a perfect game just a couple years removed from being a Met starter, I get the sense he at least merits consideration.  Especially in an article about failing to throw a no-hitter for the Mets.  Either way, I appreciate the input.

Mettiesnbeer June 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I gave your list two seconds. Very sloppy.

Where is Mike Hampton? Rick Reed?

M C Antil June 11, 2012 at 7:38 am

I stand corrected.  They both belong in there.  And while I did the list in a hurry over breakfast, I do think that Mike Hampton deserves something of an asterisk for how much he got paid for doing so little for so darn long in his career.  Reed was sneaky good though, and deserves a place on the list.

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