Video Vault: Indians' Len Barker pitches perfect game 30 years ago

WEWS video gives a different view of perfect game

CLEVELAND - Len Barker’s perfect game for the Cleveland Indians in 1981 is burned into the memory of every Indians fan.

We’ve all seen the television images of center fielder Rick Manning jumping up and down after he caught the fly ball that solidified Barker's name in the record books.

What you most likely haven’t seen is the footage in our video player above. It was shot by WEWS videographer Mike Ward. Ward was on the field next to the Indians dugout on that cold, damp evening on Friday, May 15. To our knowledge, this video ran only in 1981 and sat in our archives ever since.

Ward’s video shows the final Toronto Blue Jays' outs in the ninth inning, but we get a different view of the end of the game.

Ward isolates Barker, not Manning, in his frame. We see Barker from behind watching the ball head to left center field and we see Manning come into frame to catch it.

Along with Ward, covering the post game celebration for WEWS is sports reporter Howard Sudberry. Sudberry went on to have a long career in Chicago. You’ll see two of his competitors shoved away from Barker by two Cleveland police officers. John Telich covered post game for WJW and remains there as a sports anchor today. John Henk covered it for WKYC.

Ward went on to a career in news management at NBC stations in Chicago, Philadelphia and Raleigh.

Postgame interviews are with Barker, Indians catcher Ron Hassey, Indians pitcher Bert Blyleven and the man who caught the final out, who is currently an Indians broadcaster, Rick Manning.

There is a second clip in the video player. I’ve added some of Gib Shanley’s live sportscast from before the game. Gib mentioned Barker would be the pitcher if they play. The field is covered and the weather is, unlike Barker’s performance, less than perfect.

Finally, I added a post game live shot WEWS reporter Jim Bunn did from the Stadium Club which includes a spirited blooper from one of his interviewees.

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