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313484552 060120 JOHAN SANTANA treated art

313484552 060120 JOHAN SANTANA treated art

It was a night many Mets fans thought they would never see.

On June 1, 2012 at Citi Field in front of 27,069 fans, Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in franchise history 50 years after the inception of the team.

There had been many near-misses through the years, from Tom Seaver to Rick Reed to Tom Glavine and many in between. But it was Santana — back on the mound after missing the entire 2011 season due to shoulder surgery — who did it.

Santana, whose acquisition before the 2008 season was supposed to help the Mets erase the late-season collapse of 2007, never did pitch a postseason game for the Mets, despite his valiant complete game in Game 161 of the 2008 season at Shea Stadium.

He was brilliant before getting injured, with a 2.85 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 600 innings pitched from 2008 to 2010. But Santana’s Mets tenure will be remembered for what he did on the night of June 1, 2012, and what happened after it was all over.

It took 134 pitches — a relatively obscene number in the age of pitch counts for a pitcher coming back from a serious shoulder injury.

It took a foul ball that was actually fair.

It took a miraculous catch in left field by Mike Baxter with one out in the seventh inning on a ball that was driven deep into the night by Mets nemesis Yadier Molina. Baxter slammed into the wall, held on, and then walked off the field injured.

And it took one final disappearing changeup on a full count that David Freese flailed through to end it.

When it was over, Santana soaked in the adulation from the crowd. He bounded into the clubhouse and gave a rousing speech to his teammates. And he appeared in just 10 more games for the rest of his career, never throwing a pitch in the majors past the age of 33.

While Terry Collins — who let Santana throw all of those pitches the night of the no-hitter — has taken some of the blame for what happened to Santana after that game, it should be noted that after two rough starts directly following the no-hitter, there was a dominant three-start stretch where Santana allowed just two runs in 20 innings.

It was an ankle injury that started to derail Santana’s season in 2012 (on July 20) and another shoulder injury that took him down in 2013. Despite numerous comeback attempts, he never did make it back.

The lasting image of Santana — who won two Cy Young awards and was once on a Hall of Fame track — will be of him on the Citi Field mound, fist clenched after doing the impossible.