Len Barker

From BR Bullpen


Leonard Harold Barker III

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Biographical Information[edit]

"The Indians thought that one day he might throw a no-hitter because his fastball was clocked at ninety-five miles per hour. But a perfect game? As in no walks? Only three years before the perfect game, Barker uncorked a fastball that landed halfway up the screen behind home plate at Fenway Park. And when he was in the Texas farm system, he unleashed a pitch that flew over the backstop and banged against the tower that stood in the middle of four diamonds at the Rangers' minor league complex. There was also the pitch that ended up in the press box at Sacramento. A perfect game from Lenny Barker?" - Terry Pluto, The Curse of Rocky Colavito

Len Barker played more than a decade in the majors, most notably with the Cleveland Indians in the early 1980s. For his career, he was a sub-.500 pitcher, but for one day in 1981, he was as good as it gets, hurling the tenth perfect game in baseball history.

Barker was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the third round of the 1973 amateur draft and reached the majors in 1976. After three years with the club, primarily pitching out of the bullpen, he was traded to the Indians. In 1980, he won 19 games and led the American League with 187 strikeouts. On May 15, 1981, he struck out eleven and threw his perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays, retiring pinch hitter Ernie Whitt on a fly ball to center fielder Rick Manning to seal the deal. He started that year's All-Star Game upon the resolution of the player's strike but then struggled with arm injuries in the season's second half, going 3-4 with a 6.00 ERA.

After bouncing back and winning 15 games in 1982, Barker posted a 5.11 ERA in 24 starts for the Indians the next year before being traded to the Atlanta Braves late in the season in what became a totally lopsided trade. The Indians acquired Rick Behenna and future stars Brett Butler and Brook Jacoby plus cash for Barker. In two and a half years with Atlanta, he won only 10 games and spent considerable time on the disabled list. He briefly returned to the majors in 1987 with the Milwaukee Brewers, winning just 2 games in 11 starts.

In 2010-2011, he was pitching coach at Division II Notre Dame College. He was promoted to head coach in 2012.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL All-Star (1981)
  • 2-time AL Strikeouts Leader (1980 & 1981)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 2 (1980 & 1982)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1980 & 1982)

Related Sites[edit]