What could have been? The story of Johan Santana is a bit of a tragedy. The two-time Cy Young winner was bound for Cooperstown. Unfortunately, injuries cut his career short.
Before they did, Santana managed to spend parts of four seasons with the Mets. In those 109 starts, he went 46-34 with a 3.18 ERA. Most memorable of all, he pitched the first no-hitter in franchise history.
Yes, Santana has his place in Mets’ lore already. He did what no other pitcher could do. For an organization that has employed plenty of very talented pitchers, it’s amazing it took as long as it did for someone to finally go the distance without allowing a hit.
Santana had more than a “Bud Smith moment” with the Mets. In his first year, he led the league with a 2.53 ERA. Santana finished the year third in the Cy Young vote thanks to his 16 victories, three complete games, two shutouts and 206 strikeouts.
Sadly, his first year with the Mets was his only healthy one. He made 25 starts the following year and 29 in 2010. Santana missed all of 2011 due to injury and returned in 2012 as a fraction of the pitcher he once was.
We can only dream of what Santana would have accomplished with the Mets if he stayed healthy. There was no sign of a decline. He could have had years left to pitch at such an elite level.
Even with his career cut short, Santana did enough to justify putting him on this list.