What Do Jonathon Niese and Tom Seaver have in common? If you said they've all been pied in the face after games, then congratulations! You're 100% wrong!
However, if you said they're the only two pitchers in Mets history to pitch a complete game one-hitter in which the one hit was the only thing preventing them from pitching perfect games, then pat yourself on the back. You are a true Mets fan!
On July 9, 1969, Tom Seaver's date with perfection was unfortunately chaperoned by the Cubs' Jimmy Qualls. Once Seaver got a little too close to perfection, Qualls stepped in to break things up. In this case, the breakup occurred with one out in the ninth inning and came in the form of a clean single to left-center.
Seaver was one of only four pitchers in Mets history to pitch more than one complete game one-hitter. Two of the other three were Gary Gentry and Jon Matlack. The third was Steve Trachsel, who came closest to joining Niese and Seaver on the "28 batters up, 27 batters down" list.
On August 18, 2003, Trachsel (who had already pitched a one-hitter earlier in the season against the Angels) retired the first 17 Colorado Rockies to face him before pitcher Chin-Hui Tsao doubled off him to break up the perfect game bid. Trachsel then retired the next eight hitters until Greg Norton reached first on a throwing error by first baseman Jason Phillips with one out in the ninth inning. After the last two batters were retired in order, Trachsel found himself with a complete game one-hitter where he did not walk or hit a batter. However, the ninth inning error preventing him from joining Seaver as the only pitchers in Mets history who missed perfection by one batter.
Now Jonathon Niese can lay claim to one of the best pitching performances in Mets history. Last night, Chris Denorfia's third inning double was the only blemish in a near-perfect performance by Niese. He may not be the best pitching prospect in franchise history, but he is now up there with "The Franchise" when it comes to best pitching performances in team history.
Jonathon Niese and Tom Seaver. Once upon a time, their only connection was that they were both homegrown talents. Now they will forever be connected by near-perfection.
Congratuations to Jonathon Niese on his masterful pitching performance! Let's hope there are many more left in the tank.