MIAMI - Terry Collins remembers the energy that flowed from the crowd in the Citi Field stands, from the players in the dugout, from the pitcher on the mound. It happened one year ago Saturday, when Johan Santana threw the only no-hitter in the history of the Mets.
But a year later, Collins also remembers the agony he suffered alone in the dugout that night as Santana's pursuit of history exerted a massive toll on his surgically repaired shoulder.
"Sick to my stomach," said Collins, who still is haunted by his decision to let Santana throw 134 pitches to no-hit the Cardinals.
The Mets lefthander subsequently reinjured his shoulder, forcing him to undergo another major surgery. Santana is owed $31 million but likely has thrown his final pitch for the Mets, and possibly for any team.
"The memory of the no-hitter is great, but I also know that I'm very aware of the ramifications of what happened after the no-hitter," Collins said. "He's talked about it, everybody's talked about it. It wasn't necessarily the no-hitter that caused the injury."
Indeed, a year later, Santana is recovering from surgery in Fort Myers, Fla. But the former two-time Cy Young Award winner has not been a presence around the team since spring training. Collins' contact with the lefthander has been limited to occasional text messages.
The manager keeps a few mementos from the historic game, including his wife's framed ticket stub, which Santana signed.
"It meant a lot to a lot of people," Collins said of the performance.
But to this day, the manager has not watched a replay of the game, another sign of the conflicted emotions that came with that historic night.
"I've seen it once," he said. "That was enough."