Today in Tribe History: May 15, 1981
Bob Toth | On 15, May 2015
1981 – Len Barker joins baseball’s elite as he throws a perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Stadium in a 3-0 win.
Barker was masterful on the mound in retiring all 27 batters in order, including eleven via strikeout. The Indians gave him a pair of runs in the first inning on a sacrifice fly from Andre Thornton and an RBI-single from catcher Ron Hassey. Jorge Orta added a solo homer to lead off the ninth as an insurance run.
Former Indians infielder Alfredo Griffin may have been the biggest challenge for Barker, as he nearly legged out infield singles in the first and seventh innings, but the defense behind him got the job done. Barker, in winning his third game of the season, did not notch his first strikeout until the fourth inning, but then went on a strikeout tear, sitting down two batters in each inning from the fourth through eighth and one more in the ninth before pinch-hitter Ernie Whitt lifted a fly ball to center that was caught by Rick Manning to seal perfection.
It was the first hitless game by an Indians pitcher since Dennis Eckersley’s no-hitter on May 30th, 1977. It remains the last no-hitter thrown by an Indians pitcher and their first perfect game since Addie Joss faced the minimum on 74 pitches on October 2nd, 1908, against the Chicago White Sox.