Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Player Profile: Len Barker

I have 21 cards of Len Barker. This one is from 1979 Topps.

Playing career: Len Barker pitched eleven years in the major leagues. His best seasons were in Cleveland, leading the American League in strikeouts in 1980 and 1981. He pitched a perfect game for the Indians in 1981. He was traded to the Braves during the 1983 season, but injuries limited his effectiveness for Atlanta. A fuller account of his career can be found at the 1980 Topps blog.

Where he is now: Head baseball coach at Notre Dame College.

He also participates in fantasy camps. In the 1990s, he met a fantasy camper named Mike Ferrante. They ended up going into the construction business together for a while, and Barker married Ferrante’s daughter.

My memories: He is from before my time. The MLB Network showed a replay of his perfect game a while back – it was fun watching a game from 1981.

Interesting stories: According to a Sports Illustratedarticle after Barker’s perfect game, he improved when he went to Cleveland because they got him to lay off beer, which helped him lose ten pounds and improve his concentration from 50% to 80%. Said Indians President Gabe Paul, “When I see Barker watching a plane going overhead when he's on the mound, I know he's through.”

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Len Bar, between Len Barry, a singer, and Len Barot, an author. Another prominent Len Barker is Category Director at Asda Stores.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Richie Barker.

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