Len Barker Pitches a Perfect Game
Leonard Harold Barker III (born July 7, 1955 in Fort Knox, Kentucky), better known as Lenny Barker or Len Barker, is a former Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher.
He played for the Texas Rangers (1976–78), Cleveland Indians (1979–83), Atlanta Braves (1983–85) and Milwaukee Brewers.
Barker's most notable accomplishment as a major league pitcher occurred on May 15, 1981 as a member of the Cleveland Indians. On a cold, damp night in Cleveland, Barker pitched the tenth official perfect game in the history of major league baseball, defeating the Toronto Blue Jays, 3–0. Originally reported as the ninth perfect game in major league baseball history (the league later changed the criteria to move Barker's outing to the tenth perfect game), the final out of the game was a flyout caught by Rick Manning in short center field.
Barker's perfect outing, one of only eighteen in the history of Major League baseball, is the last no-hitter thrown by an Indian and remains one of the fondest memories in Cleveland sports history. "I run into people almost every day who want to talk about it," Barker said in 2006. "Everyone says, 'You're probably tired of talking about it.' I say, 'No, it's something to be proud of.' It's a special thing."
Later that season, Barker was selected for the 1981 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, held in Cleveland on August 9, 1981. The event was notable on three accounts: It was the first game played after a lengthy players' strike, it gave Barker the opportunity to pitch two scoreless innings in front of 72,086 fans in his home stadium, and Barker was the recipient of a kiss by Morganna the Kissing Bandit.