Today we remember Len Barker’s perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981, the last hitless game tossed by an Indians pitcher. This story was originally published by Bob Toth on May 15, 2019. – BT
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
The Cleveland Indians recorded the last no-hitter and perfect game in team history on May 15, 1981. I may be dating myself a great deal, but I was just a twinkle in an eye when the Indians added another name to the history book with the no-hitter and perfect game.
With the talented group of starting pitchers in the rotation over the last few years (and even last couple of decades), it may be something of a surprise that the Indians have not been able to hold an opposing club hitless over the course of nine innings. Baseball has changed dramatically, with an influx of strikeouts and an emphasis on scoring with one mighty swing of the bat. While on several occasions the Tribe has flirted with history, they have not been able to complete the feat last accomplished when Len Barker, on May 15, 1981, 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 sprint to the mound with several high hops in celebration of the 27th and final out of Barker’s perfect game.
On the anniversary of a bizarre event in baseball history, Did The Tribe Win Last Night shares a story originally posted on August 24, 2016, by guest contributor Scott Jarrett. – BT
Ray Caldwell jogged out to the pitcher’s mound, not exactly new territory, he had pitched at Cleveland’s Dunn Field many times before. This time, however (for the first time), it was not as a Yankee or Red Sox – Caldwell wore an Indians uniform. It was August 24, 1919. The Yankees had passed Caldwell along to the Red Sox and the latter had released him.
In the twilight of his career, he had something to prove.
We continue our look back on the death of Ray Chapman on the 100th anniversary of the tragedy. This supplemental interview appeared in the November 1920 issue of “Baseball Magazine” and tells more a little more of the story. – BT
Carl Mays is unpopular. And his big league career has been stormy beyond all precedent. But a fair minded public knows there are always two sides to a story. The case against Mays has been thoroughly aired. We thought it but fair to allow Mays to state his side of the case. And this he has done with unusual frankness in the following remarkable interview with the Editor of the Baseball Magazine.
This story was originally published on December 26, 2014, as part of a series of stories by Did The Tribe Win Last Night’s Vince Guerrieri on the Indians’ 1920 season. You can find this original story and more categorized on the site under 1920: Tragedy and Triumph. – BT
Tris Speaker didn’t sleep a wink the night Ray Chapman died. He stayed up in his room, along with Jack Graney and Steve O’Neill, hoping for the best but fearing the worst. Their worst fears were confirmed when Raymond Johnson Chapman died at 4:40 a.m., August 17, 1920.
The team visited the mortuary that day for a viewing. Graney and O’Neill passed out. Chapman’s teammates wept as they recollected his playing skill and his sunny disposition.
“It is not the baseball player I mourn,” Speaker said. “It is the pal, the truest pal man ever had.”
This weekend marked the anniversary of a tragic event thankfully never replicated on a Major League field. This story of the death of Ray Chapman was originally published on December 23, 2014, as part of a series of stories by Did The Tribe Win Last Night’s Vince Guerrieri about the Indians’ 1920 season. You can find this original story and more categorized on the site under 1920: Tragedy and Triumph. – BT
After a four-game sweep by the Yankees at League Park, the Indians had watched their lead in the American League dwindle from four and a half games down to just half a game. A loss to the St. Louis Browns put the Indians half a game back of the Yankees, who were demonstrating that they didn’t need speed when they had power. The Indians were able to put an end to the five-game skid with a shutout by Bob Clark, the pitcher from Newport, Pennsylvania*, who had thrown batting practice and came on in relief in the exhibition in July against the Reds. It was Clark’s first – and only – major league win.
Today’s trip down memory lane takes us back to a story published on August 5, 2011, in the infancy stages of the Did The Tribe Win Last Night website by writer Vince Guerrieri on the ten-year anniversary of ‘The Comeback’. – BT
On August 5, 2001, the Indians were playing a nationally-televised Sunday night game on ESPN. They had their work cut out for them, playing a Seattle Mariners team that would go on to win 116 games in the regular season, tying a major league record.
And of course, the Indians laid an egg. Tribe starter Dave Burba gave up seven runs in two innings and change, and was replaced by reliever Mike Bacsik, who gave up five more runs in an eight-run third inning. After three, the Mariners were leading by two touchdowns, 12-0. Jim Thome hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning to make it 12-2, but the Mariners added two more in the fifth to go up 14-2.
Former Indians manager John McNamara died Tuesday at the age of 88.
McNamara, a Sacramento native, is probably best known as the manager of the 1986 Red Sox, who lost the World Series in heartbreaking fashion to the Mets in seven games. In Game 6 of that World Series, McNamara first removed starter Roger Clemens in the eighth inning (he said at the pitcher’s request; Clemens denies it even today) and fatefully left Bill Buckner in at first base instead of putting in a defensive replacement. Mookie Wilson’s dribbler went through Buckner’s legs, setting the Mets on the path to victory. They won the next game as well for their last World Series title to date.
The day many thought would never come has arrived, as the Cleveland Indians will host the Kansas City Royals later on today in the first of 60 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 Major League Baseball regular season. Thank you for following along in our countdown to Opening Day! – BT
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 0
Last spring, it was written that it was a longer offseason than expected for the Cleveland Indians after they were swept by the Houston Astericks, excuse me, the Astros, in three straight games in the American League Division Series to close out the 2018 season.
This offseason, by comparison, looked like it might not ever end. Spring Training came to a crashing halt just two weeks short of its outset as the coronavirus took over the lives of Americans from one coast to another. As deaths piled up, people complained about having to comply with minimally intrusive actions like wearing a mask in public and far more complex actions like staying home and being relieved from non-essential employment, and tensions mounted, sports seemed like a far away pipe dream.
Now, more than four months after the sporting world shut down in mid-March, the game of baseball is back to try to provide the globe with a little bit of normalcy in generally abnormal times.
One day away from the Cleveland Indians’ home opener against the Kansas City Royals and on the day that Major League Baseball opens its 2020 schedule, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night continue our countdown until the long awaited first pitch of the pandemic-shortened campaign. – BT
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 1
The number one will return to the field for the Cleveland Indians in 2020, which was confirmed on Wednesday when manager Terry Francona announced that outfielder Greg Allen was to be one of 30 players breaking Summer Camp with the big league club.
The good news for Allen is that he will be on the bench for the Indians to open the season, but he could be a candidate to be optioned later on down the road as Cleveland’s current roster is rather heavy in outfield options, even when utilizing the designated hitter spot to deploy a fourth one in the lineup daily. Allen has one minor league option remaining, giving the Indians extra flexibility with him in that regard.
One day away from the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season and two days away from the Cleveland Indians’ home opener against the Kansas City Royals, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night continue our countdown until the long awaited first pitch of the pandemic-shortened campaign. – BT
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 2
For the first time since early in the 2012 season, the number two returned to the diamond for the Indians on the back of a player.
Outfielder Leonys Martin moved from the unlucky 13 into the 2 during spring training, with Hanley Ramirez taking up the former. Martin had previously worn the number two in three seasons with the Texas Rangers from 2013 to 2015 and had only once ever had a number in the big leagues that did not include a two in it (when he wore 13 for the Indians in 2018).
This week, Did The Tribe Win Last Night looks back to Dick Bosman’s bid for perfection in his no-hitter thrown 46 years ago this week. This story was originally published by Vince Guerrieri on July 15, 2014. – BT
When Dick Bosman took the hill for a start on a warm Friday night in 1974 at Cleveland Stadium, he treated it no differently than any other game – even though it was against the two-time defending champion Oakland Athletics.
Bosman, in his second year with the Indians, had watched Gaylord Perry lose 2-1 the night before, and knew what he had to do.
We are just days away from the return of Major League Baseball in Cleveland, as the Indians are set to host the Kansas City Royals in game one of 60 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season on Friday, July 24. Follow along as Did The Tribe Win Last Night counts down the days to Opening Day. – BT
Countdown to Opening Day – 3 days
Former Indians center fielder Earl Averill may have gotten a late start to his Major League career, but it did not prevent him from putting together one of the better careers of any player to wear a Cleveland uniform on the baseball diamond, let alone the number three.