Do Mets Fans Wish Someone Else Had Thrown Their First No-Hitter?S

It's the love-in that dare not speak its name: Are Mets fans disappointed that Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history?

After 8,019 games, the outpouring of joy and relief was massive and genuine, a Shea Stadium-sized weight lifted off a fanbase's shoulders in a single wet Friday evening. It was an occasion to celebrate, and celebrate they have. They are entitled to this moment, to keep forever—they've suffered long enough for it. But there's a niggling question that no one can bring themselves to verbalize—could it have been even better if someone other than Johan Santana was the one to break the streak? Does an individual effort mean more if it comes from someone more closely identified with the team?

Santana's not beloved. He came to Queens a mercenary, and has anchored some of the more disappointing seasons in Mets history. He's missed more than a full year, making it impossible to view his massive contract as anything but a disappointment so far. He's not, for lack of a less disgusting crosstown term, a "True Met." No one's going to be wearing his throwback Mets jersey in 30 years. Maybe all that is forgiven and forgotten now, as he's the central figure in what's sure to be one of the franchise's immortal moments, and maybe he'll lead these likable Mets to an unlikely playoff run. Still, can a Mets fan look him or herself in the mirror and say they wouldn't rather have had burgeoning folk hero R.A. Dickey be the one to finally break the curse? Or even a homegrown product like Niese or Gee?

Since beggars can be choosers in hypothetical retrospect, who would have been the ideal pitcher to throw the franchise's first no-hitter? In 50-plus seasons, 245 men have started games for the New York Mets. Here is an official ranking of the players Mets fans would have most—and least—wanted to throw the no-no.

(Rankings determined by a proprietary formula taking into account tenure with team, identification with team, length of no-hitter drought when pitcher pitched, and love from fans, as well as intangibles like workhorsemanship and craftiness [for lefties]. There is no arguing with the rankings; they are official.)

1) Ron Darling
2) Dwight Gooden
3) Tom Seaver
4) Jerry Koosman
5) Sid Fernandez
6) David Cone
7) Bobby Jones
8) Craig Swan
9) Al Leiter
10) Jon Matlack
11) Rick Reed
12) R.A. Dickey
13) Bill Pulsipher
13) Jason Isringhausen
13) Paul Wilson
16) Johan Santana
17) Pedro Martinez
18) Tom Glavine
19) Nolan Ryan
20) Pat Zachry
21) Steve Trachsel
22) Bob Ojeda
23) Al Jackson
24) Jon Niese
25) Nino Espinosa

...

241) Shawn Estes
242) Kris Benson
243) Tracy Stallard
244) Victor Zambrano
245) Oliver Perez

SEE ALSO: Counterpoint: Johan Santana Is The Ideal Met To Have Thrown A No-Hitter