The Top 5: Yankees And Mets No-Hitters

The New York Yankees and New York Mets have combined to throw 12 no-hitters, including three perfect games. Ok, the Yankees are responsible for 11 of them, but the Mets are finally on the board with Johan Santana's no-no on Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. The first-ever no-hitter by the Yankees occurred on April 24, 1917, when George Mogridge blanked the Boston Red Sox for the first no-hitter in Fenway Park. The ace of the 1923 World Series-winning Yankees Sad Sam Jones was next, when he no-hit the Philadelphia A's on Sept. 24, 1923. Monte Pearson followed in 1938, no-hitting the Cleveland Indians (and had help in the 13-0 win with two home runs each by Joe Gordon and Tommy Henrich). The hardest to leave off the Top 5 are Allie Reynolds' pair of no-hitters in 1951, Dave Righetti's 1983 Fourth of July no-no against the Red Sox and David Wells' perfect game in '98. But they all can't make the list.

5. Dwight Gooden, May 14, 1996: It was a feel-good story of redemption for Dr. K. After sitting out the 1995 season due to a drug suspension, Gooden hooked up with the Yankees in '96, but his first handful of starts were disasters. If it weren't for David Cone's aneurysm, Gooden most likely would have been demoted to the bullpen. But on May 14th, with his father due to have open-heart surgery the next morning, Gooden insisted on pitching despite manager Joe Torre's suggestion that he skip the game and be with his ailing dad. Facing a powerful Seattle Mariners lineup, Gooden made history once he threw his 134th and final pitch, getting Paul Sorrento to pop out to Derek Jeter. There were close calls of course: Center fielder Gerald Williams robbed Alex Rodriguez in the first inning (and turned it into a double play), Paul O'Neill made a running catch in right, Tino Martinez snagged a grounder and dove to first to get Ken Griffey Jr. on a close play in the ninth and Darren Bragg rifled a hot shot to first that bounced off Martinez but the official scorer ruled it an error. Gooden struck out five and walked six in the 2-0 win.

4. Jim Abbott, Sept. 4, 1993: If someone ever made a made-for-TV movie about the one-handed Abbott starring Matthew Perry, well, this game would have been the triumphant ending scene. In his first of two seasons with the Yankees, Abbott faced the Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle, Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez Cleveland Indians. The Yankee offense scratched together three runs in the third inning on a walk, an error and a few singles, and Randy Velarde added a solo homer in the fifth, so with a fairly large lead, the drama in the ninth inning revolved around whether Abbott, who finished the game with three strikeouts and five walks, could pull off this stunning feat. And he did so rather easily. Lofton grounded out to Mike Gallego at second, Fernando Fermin flied out to Bernie Williams in center and Baerga grounded out to Velarde at short to give Abbott his day in the sun.

3. David Cone, July 18, 1999: Why this one over the Wells perfect game? The magical coincidences and serendipity of Cone's perfect game taking place on Yogi Berra Day with Mr. Perfect himself, Don Larsen, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to Berra before the game, of course. You couldn't make this up. The Montreal Expos were the opponent, and while they didn't exactly feature a Murderers' Row of a lineup, they did have Vladimir Guerrero, Jose Vidro and Orlando Cabrera. Overcoming a 33-minute rain delay in the bottom of the third, Cone struck out 10 batters in the game, and as in every no-hitter there were a few fielding gems that helped preserve the day of perfection -- Paul O'Neill made a diving catch in the third inning, while Chuck Knoblauch robbed Vidro in the eighth. On the offensive side, Ricky Ledee and Jeter homered in the five-run second inning against future Yankee Javier Vazquez in the 6-0 win. In the suspenseful top of the ninth, Chris Widger struck out, Ryan McGuire flied out to left and after Cabrera popped out to Scott Brosius at third, Cone sunk to his knees as catcher Joe Girardi ran to greet him. This is still the only perfect game in regular-season interleague play, and the Yankees and Chicago White Sox are the only two teams to have had three perfect games.

2. Johan Santana, June 1, 2012: This one moves right up to No. 2 due to the significance of the feat and what it meant to the Met franchise. In their 51st season and after 35 one-hitters, the Mets finally have a no-hitter of their own, as Santana accomplished something no other Met hurler could do. The wait is over. Put it in the books.

1. Don Larsen, Oct. 8, 1956: It's the only perfect game in World Series history, so how could it not be No. 1 on the list? After spending the first two years of his career with the St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles (and posting a 3-21 record in his sophomore season), Larsen was dealt to New York in a whopping 17-player trade after the '54 season. He spent much of his time shuttling between the bullpen and the rotation, but Larsen had the best season of his career in '56, going 11-5 with a 3.26 ERA (he also shuttled around the bright lights of New York City, as manager Casey Stengel once said of the pitcher, "The only thing he fears is sleep"). The Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers were tied at two games apiece heading into Game 5. Larsen had only lasted into the second inning in the Game 2 13-8 loss, so Game 5 was his chance for a do-over. He threw 97 pitches, striking out seven in the 2-0 win, outdueling Sal Maglie, who tossed an eight-inning complete game. The only runs came on a Mickey Mantle home run and an Andy Carey RBI single. Mantle made the defensive play of the game, running down a Gil Hodges shot in the Death Valley left-center of old Yankee Stadium. The Dodger lineup was filled with Hall of Famers and All-Stars: Junior Gilliam, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Hodges, Sandy Amoros, Carl Furillo and Roy Campanella. Furillo opened the ninth by flying out to Hank Bauer in right, Campanella grounded out to Billy Martin at second and the game ended on a (somewhat controversial) called third strike on pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell. History was made, and Yogi jumped into Larsen's arms for one of the most memorable images in baseball history. Larsen's tenure in New York ended after the 1959 season when he was traded to the Kansas City A's in the Roger Maris deal.

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