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Steve Barber, 67; All-Star pitcher for the Orioles

February 06, 2007|From the Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Steve Barber, the first 20-game winner in modern Baltimore Orioles history and the losing pitcher in one of baseball's wildest no-hitters, has died. He was 67.

Barber became ill last week and died Sunday at a hospital in Henderson, Nev., from complications of pneumonia, the Orioles said Monday.

A two-time All-Star and a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame, Barber had a won-loss record of 121-106 with a 3.36 earned-run average from 1960 to 1974. The left-hander spent the first half of his career with the Orioles, before being traded to the New York Yankees in July 1967. He later pitched for the Seattle Pilots, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, California Angels and San Francisco Giants.

Barber's best year was 1963, when he went 20-13 with a 2.75 ERA. On a franchise that became known for its pitching, Barber was the first Baltimore player in the modern era to win 20 games in a season.

The Orioles won their first World Series in 1966, sweeping the Los Angeles Dodgers and allowing a total of two runs in the four games. Barber, who had a 10-5 record that year, did not play in the Series. He had pitched only seven games after the All-Star break because of tendinitis in his left elbow.

Early in the 1967 season, Barber pitched his most memorable game. Facing the Detroit Tigers in the first game of a doubleheader at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Barber pitched eight hitless innings and took a 1-0 lead into the ninth, despite severe bouts of wildness.

He walked the first two batters in the ninth, then retired the next two hitters. But he threw a wild pitch that let the tying run score and, after another walk, was pulled from the game.

Stu Miller relieved, and the Tigers scored the go-ahead run on an error. The Tigers wound up winning 2-1, despite getting no hits. Barber pitched 8 2/3 innings and walked 10, hit two batters, threw a wild pitch and committed a throwing error.

Born in Takoma Park, Md., Barber signed with the Orioles when he was 18. He made it to the major leagues in 1960 as part of the "Baby Birds" staff that included Milt Pappas, Jack Fisher and Chuck Estrada, all of them in their early 20s.

In 7 1/2 years pitching with the Orioles, he had a 95-75 record with a 3.12 ERA in 253 games. Overall, he pitched 1,999 innings in the major leagues.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia; a son; three daughters and a brother.

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