NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — June 1, 2012 was a night Mets fans will never forget.
Neither will Terry Collins, but for very different reasons. The New York manager is still tormented over allowing Johan Santana to finish off his no-hitter, the first in Mets history.
“It was without a doubt the worst night I’ve ever spent in baseball,” Collins recently told Sports Illustrated.
Collins allowed Santana, in his first year back from shoulder surgery, to throw 134 pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals. The two-time Cy Young award winner battled with injuries the rest of the season, threw over five innings in just three of his next 10 starts, and was shut down in late August.
Santana suffered a re-tear in his shoulder the following spring. He hasn’t thrown a pitch in the major leagues since August 17, 2012.
“I was just sitting there hoping he’ll get a couple of one-pitch outs,” Collins said of the no-hitter. “I was very aware of what the wear and tear of that night could do to him, and basically, that worst-case scenario happened. To throw that amount of pitches with that much pressure and that much adrenaline going, it can beat you down. And it did.”
The manager said fans still appreciate that he left Santana in — not that it makes him feel any better.
“People still come up to me at banquets, on the street, wherever, and tell me they’re glad I let him finish it,” Collins said. “I’m glad they’re glad. For me, the one thing it did is that one of the great competitive players I’ve ever been around got to have a great moment, and I was very happy for him.”
Santana signed with Baltimore in 2014, but a torn Achilles ended his comeback bid with the Orioles. The 36-year-old is now trying to get back into baseball with the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
“It’s easy to criticize things after they happened,” Santana told SI. “You don’t have a crystal ball to say what’s going to happen. I told Terry I felt fine, and I did. Even if an army had come to get me, I wouldn’t have come out of the game. I love this game too much.”
Santana asked the magazine to pass along a message: “Tell Terry he’s a great manager and everything is fine, I’m fine.”
“There’s nothing for anybody to be sorry about,” he added. “What happened, happened.”