All-Time Indians: Len Barker

 

Name: Leonard Harold Barker       Position: Starting Pitcher        
Tribe Time: 1979-1983           Number: 39          
Accolades: 1981 All-Star       DOB: 07/27/1955        
Stats W L W% ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP K/9 BAA
Best Season (1982) 15 11 0.577 3.91 33 33 10 1 0 244.2 211 117 106 17 88 187 1.22 6.9 .224
Career 56 49 0.533 4.32 144 134 33 6 0 932.1 894 487 447 63 348 699 1.33 6.7 .242

On May 15th, 1981 Len Barker threw the second perfect game in Indians history (Addie Joss, 1908) and the tenth in all Major League Baseball. The game was in Cleveland against the Toronto Blue Jays and slugger George Bell. Barker struck out four hitters twice each (including Bell) for eleven total. The game ended when pinch hitter Ernie Whitt flew out to centerfielder Rick Manning who completed the play by jumping in the air. Just 7,290 people saw the game, but ten times that amount now claim to have seen the game in person.

Barker was the Indians ace from 1980-1982, heading a very poor rotation compared to the rest of Indians history. Especially after the successful rotations of the late 1960's and early 1970's, the 1980's were a real downturn. Barker was the high point of those teams, averaging over 30 starts during those three seasons and maintaining an ERA under four in two of the three years.

The trade that brought Barker to the Indians was a great one, with the Tribe obtaining Barker and Bobby Bonds for Larvell Blanks and closer Jim Kern. The trade sending him away was even better with the Indians gaining two starting position players for a single aging starter. Brook Jacoby and Brett Butler came to Cleveland and were a huge part of the Indians offense for most of the next decade while Barker only pitched in another 58 total games and never won more than seven games in a season again.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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