The one that got away: No-Hit King Ryan happy for Mets' Santana

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The King of the No-Hitters -- and former Met -- was on another field to throw out a ceremonial first pitch merely moments after Johan Santana fired the first no-no in the 51-year history of the Mets.

And you bet Hall of Famer -- and lover of pitching -- Nolan Ryan knew exactly what was going on back in New York.

"It's funny, someone called me about three weeks ago doing a story on that and why there hadn't been one," Ryan said Friday night after Santana's 134-pitch masterpiece. "It's amazing with the pitchers they've had there that they've never had one."

So many in baseball -- and fans everywhere -- not only agree with that, but find it utterly amazing that the man who has pitched a record seven no-hitters threw every single one of them after the Mets shipped him to the Angels for Jim Fregosi following the 1971 season.

A workhorse when he pitched, Ryan long has been a proponent of starting pitchers throwing more pitches and working deeper into games than they have over the past several years. As such, Ryan said that during a no-hitter, he thinks you toss the pitch count out the window.

"I never think about that, no," he said of Santana's high total.

More amazing yet is that it was only Santana's 11th start following major shoulder surgery.

"Yeah, it is" amazing, Ryan said, "But it tells you how well he's come back from his surgery."

Ryan is well aware of the dozens of one-hitters the Mets have had over the years -- a staggering total of 35.

"They've had a lot of history of one-hitters, and it's because of the great pitchers they've had there," Ryan said. "When you think of Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden there, and some of the other guys, it's amazing they never did."

And when you think of a fellow named Nolan Ryan made 71 starts for the Metropolitans between the ages of 19 and 24 from 1966-1971.

Oh, and how about this: Friday was the 37th anniversary of the fourth of Ryan's seven no-nos, a 1-0 decision over the Baltimore Orioles for the Angels.

It was his fourth in three years for the Angels. He threw two in 1973, just his second season with the Angels, another in 1974 and a fourth in '75. His others came for Houston against the Dodgers in 1981, for Texas at Oakland in 1990 and for the Rangers against the Blue Jays in 1991.

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