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.
In 116 years of shared history, there were bound to be a few common threads between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox organizations. Those links extend far beyond a handful of players and coaches who make up each respective dugout this season while the two face off in the American League Division Series in their fifth playoff matchup all-time.
The most visible overlap between the two franchises may start from the managerial positions. Indians manager Terry Francona spent a portion of his playing career with the Indians before guiding the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 2004 to end an 86-year championship drought. Across the diamond, Red Sox manager John Farrell spent the majority of his playing days as a member of the Indians, including time as Francona’s teammate during the 1988 season.
On June 10, 1966, Sonny Siebert etched his name permanently into the record books when he no-hit the Washington Senators at Cleveland Stadium.
His gem was the eleventh no-hitter tossed by a member of the Cleveland franchise, as he joined the likes of Bob Rhoads, Addie Joss (2), Ray Caldwell, Wes Ferrell, Bob Feller (3), Don Black, and Bob Lemon. He ended what might have felt then like a never-ending drought between hitless games – the Indians were less than a month away from the 15th anniversary of Feller’s final no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers on July 1, 1951.
That nearly 15-year span is now the second longest in Indians history, as the team has not thrown a no-hitter since Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981.
Behind a strong start from Sonny Siebert, the Cleveland Indians win their tenth straight game to open the season, tying the modern day record, with a 2-1 win over the California Angels.
In his second start and fourth appearance overall …
As Did The Tribe Win Last Night helps fans count down the days until the Indians retake the field in an official Major League game, we look back at some of the players who wore the Cleveland jersey with pride.
Countdown to Opening Day – 42 days
Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson’s number 42 across the game on April 15, 1997, on the 50th anniversary of his monumental breaking of the color barrier. Indians reliever Michael Jackson was one of 13 players who were wearing that number at the time and was allowed to continue wearing it, making him the last to call the number his own with the Indians.
In 2013, the last of those original 13 players, Mariano Rivera, retired from baseball. Since 2007, the number has returned around the league for one day each year, thanks to the efforts of 2016 Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. in 2007, who wanted to honor Robinson on the 60th anniversary of his debut.
Jackson not only has the honor of being the last to wear the number regularly for the Tribe, but had some of the best seasons in Cleveland history by a player wearing the number 42.