Johan Santana's No-Hitter and 10 Greatest Feats by NY's 2nd Fiddle Squads
With Johan Santana's no-hitter last Friday night, the Mets escaped yet another dubious title, as they have left the Padres as the only Major League team without a no-hitter.
It took 8,020 games before someone could do it but Santana finally ended the suffering of Mets fans.
Where does his performance rank on the all-time list of accomplishments for New York's second fiddle squads?
10) Mets Make It a Subway Series
AP Photo/Gary Hershorn, Pool
Starting off our list is the 2000 Mets exorcising the demons from 1999 and making it to the World Series. Unfortunately for them, they were playing their crosstown rival Yankees, who were looking to three-peat as World Champions and make it four World Series titles in five years.
The Mets lost in five games to the Yankees, as the series was highlighted by absolutely other-worldly play by Derek Jeter and round two of Clemens v. Piazza for the heavyweight belt of New York.
9) Johan Santana's No-Hitter
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
This is not meant as a slight to Johan Santana in any way, shape or form. Throwing a no-hitter is special, and when it is your franchise's first of all time, it makes a lasting mark.
However, seeing as how it was a no-hitter, not a perfect game, Johan gets stuck here on our list. I understand that the difference between the two is sometimes miniscule.
Jered Weaver was credited with a no-hitter earlier this season, as opposed to a perfect game, because he struck one batter out but the ball got away from the catcher, allowing the batter was able to reach base safely. Can you imagine actually being perfect but a mistake like that costing you?
Major League Baseball has officially recognized 275 no-hitters in history. How many of those were perfect games you ask?
21 out of 275.
Again, this isn't meant to diminish Santana's accomplishment at all, just to explain why it isn't higher on the list.
8) New Jersey Nets Make Back-to-Back NBA Finals Appearances
The New Jersey Nets made a couple of firsts in the 2002 season. They won their first NBA division title. They also won their first NBA conference title and, as a result, made it to their first NBA Finals.
Unfortunately for them, there they ran into the buzz-saw that was the Kobe-Shaq Lakers in their prime and were swept.
They returned the next season and made it back to the Finals, where they lost to the Spurs and Tim Duncan in six games.
Had they won either of these championships, this would be much higher on the list but because they managed to lose two series in a total of ten games, this is as high as they climb.
7) Jets Win 1968 AFL Championship
Courtesy of the Associated Press
While the Jets most memorable win in franchise history happened the game after this, this is still impressive nonetheless. The Jets had never even made an appearance in the AFL Championship game, let alone the Super Bowl, and during the 1968 season, they captured both.
To do so they had to get past the mighty Oakland Raiders and star receiver Fred Biletnikoff. The Raiders had represented the AFL in the Super Bowl the year before and seemed the favorites to do it again, going 12-2 in the regular season and beating the Kansas City Chiefs 41-6 in the Western Division playoff.
The Jets prevailed however, 27-23, as Joe Namath tossed a fourth quarter touchdown pass to Don Maynard to ice the game and the Jets' first championship.
6) Islanders Upset Defending Champion Penguins
During the 1992-93 season, the Islanders made it back to playoffs under first year GM Don Maloney after he made a bevy of moves to shake up the roster.
The biggest of which was sending Pat LaFontaine, Randy Wood and Randy Hillier to the Sabres for Pierre Turgeon, Benoit Hogue, Uwe Krupp and Dave McLlwain. The trade worked out as Turgeon end up being the team's leading scorer that season.
However, Turgeon was lost when he was hit from behind by a cheap shot from Dale Hunter as Turgeon celebrated the series clinching goal. Turgeon suffered a separated shoulder and was considered lost completely for the next round and maybe further.
If it could get any worse, they were set to face the Penguins, who had won the past two Stanley Cups and were headed by stars such as Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Ron Francis. No one really gave the Islanders any chance of winning.
The Islanders were able to force the series to seven games and the last game into overtime, where Dave Volek netted one to send the Islanders on.
Sadly for Isles fans, the team has not won a playoff series since.
5) the Nets Win Two ABA Titles in Three Years
While the Nets haven't been able to reach the pinnacle of the NBA just yet, they did do so twice in three years as a member of the ABA, including the last ABA title ever.
Headlined by Julius Erving, who they acquired the offseason prior from the Virginia Squires, the Nets defeated the Utah Stars in the 1974 championship.
Even though they won a team record 58 games in 1975, they were eliminated in the first round by the Spirits of St. Louis in five games.
They were able to come back the next season though, winning 55 games and defeating the Nuggets for the 1976 ABA title, the last one ever played for.
4) the Mets Prove There Is a Curse
Down 3-2 in the 1986 World Series, the Mets needed a miracle, or something to that extent, and that is exactly what they got.
We all know the story. The ball goes through Bill Buckner's legs, allowing the Mets to win Game 6, and then finish off the Red Sox in Game 7.
While that World Series is deservedly remembered for Buckner's legendary gaffe, lost in the shuffle is the Mets team won 108 games that season. They were a great baseball team and pulled off one of the most historic comebacks in World Series history, with a little bit of help from the Curse of the Bambino.
3) the 1969 Amazin' Mets
In 1962, the Mets played their inaugural season as an expansion team and went an appalling 40-120. Seven years later, they were World Series Champions. That alone is a miracle.
Between 1962 and 1968, the Mets were over .500 after the third game of the season once, in 1966. However that all changed in the 1969 season.
Despite being back 9.5 games to the Cubs for the NL pennant in mid-August, the Mets rattled off wins in 39 of their last 50 games to finish 100-62.
Tom Seaver led a team that was strongly dependent on pitching and defense to their first World Series championship, not to mention the first ever won by an expansion franchise, just seven years after the Mets played their first season.
2) the Guarantee
As we've already covered, the Jets won their first AFL championship in 1968 and won the right to represent the AFL in Super Bowl III against the heavily favored Colts.
Despite being 18 point underdogs, Jets quarterback "Broadway" Joe Namath famously guaranteed a victory for the Jets.
As they walked off the field, the Jets had won, 16-7. Namath was named MVP of the game and created one of the most iconic images in sports history, trotting off the field wagging his hand in the air.
1) the Islanders 4-Peat
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
The Islanders have not won a playoff series since they upset the Penguins in the second round of the 1993 playoffs. That's a story everyone is familiar with. The Islanders have been little more than futile since then.
However, their four-peat to start the 1980s was one of the most miraculous runs in all sports, let alone just New York. The Islanders made the Stanley Cup five years in a row from 1980-84, winning it the first four.
Led by Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies and Ken Morrow, the Isles defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1980 Stanley Cup on an overtime goal at home by Bob Nystrom.
In 1981, they lost only three playoff games en route to repeating.
in 1982, they set a franchise record with 118 points, but were severely tested in the early rounds of the playoffs, going to the maximum five games to defeat the Penguins and six to beat the Rangers. After that, they didn't lose again, sweeping the Quebec Nordiques and then the Vancouver Canucks to win their third in a row.
1983 saw them lose the regular season crown to the Edmonton Oilers and their new superstar, a young kid by the name of Wayne Gretzky. The Islanders exacted their revenge in the finals however, sweeping the young team and winning their fourth Stanley Cup in a row.
Their streak is one of the most impressive in all of sports.