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Leonard Harold Barker III (born July 7, 1955 in Fort Knox, Kentuckymarker), better known as Lenny Barker or Len Barker, is a former Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher. He played for the Texas Rangers (1976–78), Cleveland Indians (1979–83), Atlanta Braves (1983–85) and Milwaukee Brewers (1987).

Playing career

Early career

Barker was a hard thrower, who earlier in his career struggled with his control. On April 16, 1978, in a cool Fenway Parkmarker, Barker (then with the Texas Rangers) threw a pitch that sailed upward onto the screen above and behind the backstop.

Barker's best season statistically was in , when he enjoyed career-high numbers in winning games (19) and strikeouts (181, top in the league).

1981 perfect game

Barker's most notable accomplishment as a major league pitcher occurred on May 15, 1981 as a member of the Cleveland Indians. On a cold, damp night in Cleveland, Barker pitched the tenth official perfect game in the history of major league baseball, defeating the Toronto Blue Jays, 3–0. Originally reported as the ninth perfect game in major league baseball history (the league later changed the criteria to move Barker's outing to the tenth perfect game), the final out of the game was a flyout caught by Rick Manning in short center field.

Barker's perfect outing, one of only eighteen in the history of Major League baseball, is the last no-hitter thrown by an Indian and remains one of the fondest memories in Cleveland sports history. "I run into people almost every day who want to talk about it," Barker said in 2006. "Everyone says, 'You're probably tired of talking about it.' I say, 'No, it's something to be proud of.' It's a special thing."

Later that season, Barker was selected for the 1981 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, held in Clevelandmarker on August 9, 1981. The event was notable on three accounts: It was the first game played after a lengthy players' strike, it gave Barker the opportunity to pitch two scoreless innings in front of 72,086 fans in his home stadium, and Barker was the recipient of a kiss by Morganna the Kissing Bandit.

Later career

During the 1983 season, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Brett Butler, Brook Jacoby, Rick Behenna and $150,000 cash. The trade was initiated by the Braves, who were in a tight race for first in the National League West Division with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Butler and Jacoby went on to become All-Stars, while Barker was released from the Braves in 1985 with three years remaining on his contract. He finished his career in 1987 with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Barker compiled a career 74–76 record with 975 strikeouts and a 4.34 ERA in 1323.7 innings.

Life after baseball

After his playing career, Barker returned to the Cleveland area and founded a construction company with a business partner. Lenny Barker and his wife Eva are the parents of Jared, Blake and Jacob. The Barker family currently resides in Geauga County, near Cleveland, Ohio.

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