On June 1, 2012, Mets pitcher Johan Santana threw a no-hitter against the Cardinals, the first and only such feat in team history. Rob Tringali/MLB via Getty Images

June 1 in sports history: Joh-hitter

Here's a look back at notable sports news on June 1 through the years:


2012: For years, one would argue that other than winning another World Series, a New York Mets pitcher firing a no-hitter was the definitive baseball moment the Flushing faithful wanted most. Several hurlers flirted with throwing one, but would come up short in various ways.

Enter Johan Santana.

The Mets ace would pitch gems, but lacked run support and sometimes would be hurt by the team’s defense. Not on this balmy night at the three-year-old Citi Field. Santana didn’t have it easy against the St. Louis Cardinals’ red-hot offense as he struck out eight, but walked five. Yet, the Amazins did their part in the 8-0 win, with timely hitting and Mike Baxter sacrificing himself for a great, but painful running catch into the left field wall.

The most ridiculous stat of the game: pitch count. Johan threw a career-high 134 pitches in adding his name to Mets folklore. While manager Terry Collins caused consternation for appearing to leave him on the mound too long, Santana may have thought he really had a rubber arm. “I don’t think I even had a no-hitter in video games,” the former Cy Young winner told the Bergen Record’s J.P. Pelzman and other reporters.

It has inspired a long-simmering debate within the fan base: Did throwing the no-hitter ruin his career? That’s hard to say, as Ted Berg opined for USA Today in 2016 when he looked at what became the final 10 starts to his otherwise brilliant pitching career.

Currently, the San Diego Padres are the only franchise without a no-hitter.

JUST ANOTHER NO-NO FOR NOLAN RYAN 

1975: Most pitchers never come close to throwing a no-hitter. And until Santana’s no-no for the Mets, there were still some franchises that hadn’t registered one in 1975. Which is why Nolan Ryan remains one of the most remarkable pitchers of all time. Ryan, then with the California Angels, left opposing batters steaming once again when he threw his fourth career no-hitter — a 1-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles where he would strike out nine.

This one wasn’t totally clean, as he walked four batters and had a fifth reach base on an error by shortstop Billy Smith. At 28 years old, Ryan broke the AL record for career no-hitters, surpassing Bob Feller. He had also tied Sandy Koufax that night for most in baseball history. Ryan would add three more to the tally.

GOWDY ANSWERS THE CALL FOR COUNTRY 

1917: Catcher Hank Gowdy of the Boston Braves became the first active baseball player to be enlisted for service in the U.S. Army for World War I. The Columbus, Ohio, native was a private in the second brigade of the Ohio National Guard. “I’m not going to be conscripted,” he told the Boston Globe. “And that’s all there is to it, except that I want to go in an outfit in which there are some fellows I know.”

Gowdy would serve in France with the 166th Infantry Regiment until returning to the states in 1919. Many years later while a coach, he enlisted again; this time as a captain in World War II … at 53 years old. Gowdy is the only MLB player to serve in both wars.

EVERY STREAK BEGINS WITH THE NUMBER 1 

1925: Lou Gehrig hit for a .340 career batting average, blasted 493 home runs, amassed 2,721 hits and racked up 1,995 RBI. He had a career WAR of 114.1, 18 th of all time. Yet, the number most associated with the Yankees legend is 2,130, representing what stood as the “Iron Man” streak of consecutive games played.

Ninety-five years ago, Gehrig began his as a pinch hitter for Pee-Wee Wanninger. He would fly out in the eighth in a 5-3 loss to the Washington Senators. The defeat was the Yanks’ fifth straight despite the return of Babe Ruth after a stomach ailment.

RICKEY BE NIMBLE, RICKEY BE QUICK 


Rickey Henderson would break the stolen bases record later that season, a record he still holds today. Bettmann/Getty Images

1982: There was nobody like Rickey Henderson, and there still isn’t. The Oakland A’s outfielder became the fastest player to steal 50 bases in a season when he swiped two in a 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox. Henderson ended the game with 51 stolen bases in 51 games, and he stole more than one base in 15 of those contests. Oh, and he hit a homer as well.

Never lacking confidence, the future stolen base king knew that Lou Brock’s single-season record of 118 was within reach. He told reporters, “I’m not thinking so much about when I get 100. My only goal is to break the record as soon as possible. The magic number is 119.”

As soon as possible? Seems like Rickey always had places to go.

A HISTORIC BIRDIE 

1986: There’s nothing quite like the final moments in golf when a title is on the line. At the LPGA Championship that year, Pat Bradley, Patty Sheehan and Julie Inkster put on a show in the 18th hole. Bradley was holding firm to the lead when Sheehan masterfully escaped the sand and followed with a birdie to tie. Inkster charged not far behind with a 20-foot putt to get her within a stroke.

Yet it was Bradley who would emerge from the trio to do what no other female golfer had done before. With her final putt, she became the first woman to win all four majors on tour. Bradley won the 1981 U.S. Open, 1980 and 1985 Canadian Open and Dinah Shore earlier in the year.

The once-unheralded golfer took note of the way opponents saw her at the links. “I do not walk to the first tee trying to intimidate anybody,” she told Tim Sullivan at the Cincinnati Observer. Upon being asked about her phenomenal run that year, “I’m sure it was very intimidating. It's amazing to myself, and I’m the one who has done it.”

FOR THE WORLD TO SEE 

1939: We say there’s nothing like a big fight, but for decades, that only meant something if you were in attendance. The advent of television gave sports far wider audiences, but boxing in particular would gain a huge boost from the added eyeballs.

The first televised fight card in the United States came courtesy of NBC, which broadcasted Lou Nova’s 11th-round TKO win over former world champion Max Baer at Yankee Stadium. “Never before had an American gathering been privileged to watch from afar the scene of two men striving to bash out each other’s brains,” the New York Daily News quipped.

Surely the writers could not have predicted that fans could end up watching a title fight on their phones 80 years later to the day.

STUNNED 

2019: Andy Ruiz Jr. was not supposed to be in the same ring as Anthony Joshua — both figuratively and literally. Ruiz was called in after the original challenger, Jarell Miller, was suspended for performance-enhancer use. He was called in as another warm-up to an seemingly inevitable battle of undefeated champions between Joshua and Deontay Wilder.

A 15-1 underdog coming into the bout, Ruiz shocked the world with the biggest upset in boxing since James "Buster" Douglas put down Mike Tyson in Tokyo nearly 30 years before. While his physique inspired few, he displayed fortitude by recovering from a third-round knockdown that should have sent him home with just a good payday. “The Destroyer” lived up to his nickname throughout the fight with impressive accuracy on the inside of the much taller Joshua.

Ruiz became the first boxer of Mexican descent to win the heavyweight title, an incredible achievement on its own when considering the deep and rich history Mexican and Mexican-American fighters have made in boxing. “This is what I have been dreaming about,” he said in the in-ring interview after the fight. “This is what I have been working hard for. I can’t believe I just made my dreams come true.”

However, due to poor training, Ruiz’s fall would be as swift as his rise when he lost to Joshua in a lopsided rematch in Saudi Arabia late last year.

Happy birthday...

  • Alexi Lalas, former member of the U.S. men’s soccer team and TV soccer analyst. Lalas won an MLS cup with the L.A. Galaxy. (50)
  • Four-time Stanley Cup winner Paul Coffey, who earned three Norris Trophies over his 21 years in the league. He is second all-time in goals by a defenseman, with 396, behind only Ray Bourque. (59)
  • NHL defenseman Roman Josi , captain of the Nashville Predators. He helped lead Nashville to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. (30)
  • Nick “Swaggy P” Young, who last played for the Denver Nuggets. Young was selected in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards after forgoing he senior year at USC. He won an NBA championship in 2018 with the Warriors. (35)
  • Former NFL wide receiver Santana Moss . He was picked in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, where he spent his first four seasons before playing 10 more years with Washington. He holds the record for most receiving yards in a single season, 1,483, for Washington. (41)
  • Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano , who returned to the Scarlet Knights after an eight-year absence. He also was head coach in the NFL with Tampa Bay and served as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bears. Prior to returning to Rutgers, Schiano accepted, and then after two months, left the defensive coordinator role with the New England Patriots. (54)

R.I.P.

2005: George Mikan, NBA Hall of Famer who, at 6-foot-10, was considered one of the first of the league’s “big men.” The bespectacled Mikan led the Minnesota Lakers to five NBA titles and averaged 23.1 points in seven seasons with the team. He had diabetes and kidney failure. He was 80.

1980: Hall of Fame pitcher Richard “Rube” Marquard, who pitched in five World Series with the New York Giants and Boston Red Sox. Marquard threw a no-hitter and won at least 20 games in three straight seasons. He gained fame off the field when he married entertainer Blossom Seeley after appearing with her in vaudeville shows. He was 93.

1965: Curly Lambeau, co-founder of the Green Bay Packers. Lambeau played for the Packers before coaching them to six NFL championships, including three straight. He has a famous stadium named for him too. He died of a heart attack at 67.


May 31: "Fo', (five), fo'!"


Jason Clinkscales is the editor-in-chief and media analyst for The Sports Fan Journal, senior editor for Yardbarker, and a masochistic New York Knicks fan. Follow Jason on Twitter at @asportsscribe.

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