Lenny Perfect Barker

Screen shot 2013-05-14 at 3.44.13 PMJust wanted to tip my new Indians cap to one of my all-time Cleveland Indians heroes: Lenny Freaking Perfect Game Barker.

Hard to believe it’ll be 32 years, but it has.  But when I think of that night (yes, I was there… and I was sitting in Art Modell’s loge courtesy of Vince Matteucci by way of his son-in-law, Joe Agozzino), it’s almost as if it was just yesterday.  It was cold and rainy and we (me and Bob and Leo and Joe and Joey) spent most of the night watching the NBA playoffs on Art’s TV.  Who knew history was being made over our shoulders?

Anyway, the thing I really love about Lenny  is that he so typifies Cleveland.  At the end of the day, he was just an average pitcher with an average record (won 74 games and lost 76… lifetime ERA of 4.34… struck out 975 batters).  But his career was filled with amazing highlights, including his perfect no-hitter and a trip to the 1981 All-Star game (in which he pitched two scoreless innings).  In 1980, Lenny won 19 games and struck out 181 (tops in the MLB).  And then there is the mustache.

Anyway, when you are thinking about the Tribe tonight or tomorrow (on his anniversary), send Lenny some good wishes and some gratitude for making the ’80s bearable.  And don’t forget Rick Manning who caught the final out of the game in short center. And Toby Harrah who dove into the seats to catch a foul ball. And the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium…

Go Tribe!


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