Saturday, November 5, 2011

36 - Steve Barber

About This Player
Steve Barber enjoyed 16 seasons in the Major Leagues and two of them with the California Angels.  Barber was recognized most for his eight year tenure with the Baltimore Orioles.  Barber made his big league debut for the O's in 1960 and, while he had an American League sixth-best 3.22 ERA, he led the league in walks and wild pitches.  He soon became the ace of the pitching staff.  In 1961, he pitched to a record of 18-12 and tied for the league lead with eight shutouts.  In 1963, he became the first pitcher in modern Orioles' history to win 20 games in a season with a 20-13 record, 180 strikeouts and a 2.73 ERA.  He was selected as an All-Star in 1963 and 1966; tendonitis kept Barber out of the All-Star Game in 1966 and also kept him out of the Orioles' World Series win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On April 30, 1967, Barber pitched 8-2/3 innings against the Tigers before being relieved by Stu Miller to combine for a no-hitter in a 2-1 loss.  The Orioles started the ninth inning with a 1-0.  Barber walked the first two batters.  He then retired the two batters after.  He threw a wild pitch that lead the tying run score.  After another walk, Barber was pulled.  The go-ahead run scored on an error and Stu Miller got the final out.

For more information:
Blogging Baseball: Another No Hit Loss...

Barber was known both for his electric fastball and his wildness.  Fellow starting pitcher, Jim Palmer, spoke highly of Barber, saying that, "[Barber] had some elbows problems, but he was a very accomplished pitcher.  And he was a good guy."  Former teammate and outfielder, Paul Blair described Barber as "the perfect teammate."  Barber still ranks 7th all-time among Orioles pitchers with 918 strikeouts.

Barber spent the latter half of his career as a journeyman pitcher plagued by injuries.  In the middle of the 1967 season, Barber was traded to the New York Yankees.  He later pitched for the Seattle Pilots, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, California Angels and San Francisco Giants.  Barber played his final game in 1974.

Barber passed away on February 4, 2007 from pneumonia at the age of 68.

About This Card
This card features a shot of Steve Barber on his follow-through from the mound.  While Barber had been a starting pitcher for the better part of his career, he pitched almost exclusively in relief from 1970 onward.

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