There were once two Johan Santanas playing for MLB organizations. (What can we say, it was the early-00s -- a crazy time for everyone.) One broke into the Majors first, and so the other changed his name. But that's not the end of the story.
Fifteen years ago Saturday, Johan Santana joined the Twins with a prearranged deal: Minnesota would select Jared Camp first overall in the 1999 Rule 5 draft, the Marlins would draft Santana second, and then the two teams would swap. And so it was.
Ervin Santana -- born Johan -- was brought into the Angels organization as a free agent a year later. In 2003, with the other Johan Santana doing his thing for the Twins, he decided to change his name to Ervin, simply because it sounded good. Thus Ervin Santana was born:
Their paths diverged. The two pitchers never faced each other in an MLB game. The pair settled into their respective careers. But then Ervin threw a no-hitter in 2011, and the MLB world was once again reminded that there were once two Johans.
Less than a year later, Johan would throw his own no-hitter, the first ever for the Mets. It was almost as if he couldn't let the younger Johan Santana be the only one with the feat:
And now, roughly seven years after the eldest Johan Santana left the Twins, Ervin Santana is headed to Minnesota for the 2015 season. Of course two players with the same name would end up playing (albeit at different times) for a team called the Twins. Sometimes the universe is just funny like that.