On May 15, 1981, even as the baseball world prepared for a strike that would tear apart the season and the game, Cleveland Indians starter Len Barker made everybody happy for a day.

Well, everybody except for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Because, on that day, the budding Indians’ ace hurled a perfect game, never going to ball three on any batter and striking out 11 of them.

It was a masterful performance that gave the lowly Tribe a 3-0 victory over the lowlier Jays.

As you might expect, Barker’s feat got some cardboard love, namely a nifty 1982 Fleer card commemorating the event. There on card number #639, Barker sits in the Cleveland dugout with catcher Bo Diaz. The card back details how Barker and Diaz teamed up for that sterling “Perfect Game!”, the first in the Major Leagues in 13 years.

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That’s great.

Diaz was an All-Star backstop, as the card notes. Later on, he would star behind the plate for my Cincinnati Reds.

Loved him.

Problem is, he didn’t catch Barker’s perfecto.

The behind-the-plate engineer of that national treasure was Ron Hassey, who would also catch Dennis Martinez’s perfect game more than ten years later.

Uh …

So, why did Fleer slot Diaz on that celebration card?

The All-Star glare, maybe? The photographer happened upon Diaz and Barker together in the dugout … so, convenience?

Seems possible, at least.

To Fleer’s credit, they owned their gaffe to the extent that they issued another hunk of celebratory cardboard in 1983 (#642), a Super Star Special they called “Last Perfect Game.”

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This time, they even gave Hassey top billing.

And, thus, Len Barker’s amazing performance got double the love, which seems fitting considering that Hassey’s feat a decade later with Martinez would make him the first catcher to call double perfect games.

How cool is that?

And …

How cool is that?

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