Okay, remember all that hubbub regarding the 2008 Topps #661 Johan Santana "No-Hitter" card? The idea was that he would pitch a no-hitter against the Florida Marlins on what would be the final game ever played at Shea Stadium on Sunday, September 28, 2008. Keep in mind also that the Mets have never been involved in a no hitter. Ever!!!
Could Topps have possibly, and correctly, predicted the future??? Let's see...
Johan Santana is pitching on Tuesday, September 23, against the Cubs at Shea. That means, if the Mets are still following the five-day rotation plans, he is scheduled to pitch ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28!!! Back when this controversial card was conceptualized, it may have been the wildest of wild guesses that Santana would be starting the game, but who knew then it could possibly happen?
The Marlins, their chances of Wild Card bliss almost at an end, is still scheduled to show up in New York for a three game series, so they will obviously be there. Mark Hendrickson, the pitcher "scheduled" to start against Johan, is now a relief pitcher. So the only way he gets a decision in the game is if he "happens" to be the pitcher going into the bottom of the ninth inning that allows the first of four walks. He could still wind up with the loss.
Can you imagine the pressure on Hendrickson knowing that he is "destined" to lose this game???
The stars are aligning for this card to become a reality...right??? Well...
Hendrickson, although now a part of the Marlins' bullpen, has a record of 7-8, one win more than the predicted six win record, and 8 games less in the loss column. Santana is 14-7 prior to tomorrow's ball game. So he has one more loss than predicted. And barring Jerry Manuel throwing him in the bullpen for the four games before Sunday, he won't reach the 18 win mark at all. So maybe the Topps company was a bit generous to Santana (which means they didn't have high expectations for Hendrickson).
It doesn't say who scored the run, or which players were walked to load the bases. It doesn't even say if there were any outs in the bottom of the ninth when the "walk-off" happened. It was probably written this way so Topps wouldn't embarass itself if in the event that the person scoring the winning run was no longer on the team. The only two players mentioned were the pitchers (Santana and Hendrickson).
So let's wait and see what happens on Sunday. It should be interesting to say the least. And who knows, maybe Topps will turn out to be correct after all.
P.S. Coming soon...my NL and AL end of year All-Star Teams. It's something I've done since 1989, but it will be the first time I share my rosters with the rest of the world. jba