Len Barker, getting the sign from Ron Hassey. Ernie Whitt stands in. Wind up, here it comes. Fly ball, center field. Manning coming on, he’s there…he catches it! Len Barker has pitched a no-hitter! A perfect game for Len Barker! The stands erupt, the players go out, Len Barker being surrounded on the field. He has made baseball history here tonight. Len Barker has pitched a perfect ball game. Faces 27 men, retires them all, eleven strikeouts. Len Barker being mobbed on the field, the Cleveland Indians win it, 3-0. – Herb Score’s call of Barker’s perfect game
It has now been 37 years since Len Barker lifted his leg high and tight on a 1-2 pitch to Toronto Blue Jays catcher Ernie Whitt, inducing a fly ball to center field. Rick Manning raced in, arms extended straight out as though he were flying. He raised both arms above his head and he secured the catch before beginning his ascent to the mound with several high hops in celebration of the 27th and final out of Barker’s perfect game.
Seventy-two years ago this week, Bob Feller became just the second pitcher in Indians history to throw multiple no-hitters, getting his second no-no against the Yankees.
To finish it off, he had to go through the meat of the Bronx Bombers’ lineup, including Tommy Henrich, nicknamed “Ol’ Reliable” by longtime Yankees broadcaster Mel Allen for his ability to deliver in the clutch.
But it’s entirely possible that Feller and Henrich could have been teammates – possibly in Cleveland OR New York.
Many accomplishments in Major League Baseball history have come and gone, to be expected on some level with the 162-game schedule and 30 teams competing on a nightly basis for six months of the year. Yet some records and performances have withstood the test of time and somewhat surprisingly, Bob Feller’s Opening Day no-hitter remains one of them.
It was on April 16, 1940, that Feller started the regular season with the first and only no-hitter in baseball history. Despite 39 Cleveland modern openers before it and the 78 openers that have followed, the historic effort has yet to be replicated.
While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering one of the all-time legends of the game of baseball.
Countdown to Opening Day – 19 days
If you ask Clevelanders which player was the best to wear the number 19 while representing the city in a sporting event, chances are you will get a lot of answers naming former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar as their pick.
No knock on Bernie, but he doesn’t hold a candle in comparison to one of the best 19s ever to play the game of baseball, Bob Feller.
After arguably one of the worst seasons of his Major League career, Cleveland superstar Bob Feller asks for and receives a pay cut following a disappointing 1949 season with the Indians. His salary decreases from $65,000 to $45,000.