Jays vs. Indians: Most memorable meetings

 *  Dave Stieb's no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 2, 1990 takes the top spot on Bob Elliott's list of memorable games between the Blue Jays and Indians. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors 2014 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2014 Canadian draft list 2015 Canadian draft list


By Bob Elliott

Since they began 38 seasons ago, the Blue Jays have had 19 winning seasons, making post-season play five times, although none since 1993.

In the same time frame, the Cleveland Indians have had 12 winning seasons, reaching October play eight times, including last fall.

So how is it if the Indians win the finale of this series against the Blue Jays, the all-time series between the two teams will be deadlocked at 195-195-2?

Here are five of the most memorable meetings between the Jays and the Indians:

1. Sept. 2, 1990.

Dave Stieb had been down this road before. He had not allowed a hit entering the ninth. He retired pinch hitter Chris James on a fly ball to deep left, then struck out pinch hitter Candy Maldonado. Now, one to go. Stieb walked Alex Cole. So many near misses, but this time he got Jerry Browne to line out to Junior Felix in right for the final out and his first no hitter, the only one in franchise history. Mobbed by catcher Pat Borders and teammates, he pointed to the press box and to Kevin Boland, who wrote his 1986 bio ‘Tomorrow I’ll Be Perfect’. Stieb walked four and fanned nine.

2. May 31, 1989.

Rich Yett started for the Indians and lasted 2 2/3 innings, while Pete O’Brien went 3-for-3, with three RBIs. What was so special about this game? Well, nothing really, the Jays lost 7-4 before 12,890 fans in Cleveland. But the day was pretty special in Jays history. After saying that they did not want to make a mistake and promote a coach as they did with Jimy Williams to replace Bobby Cox, Jays management hauled out the erasers and removed the “interim” tag in front of Cito Gaston’s title. That worked out pretty well: back to back World Series wins in 1992-93.

3. May 15, 1981.

Indians right-hander Len Barker retired pinch hitter Ernie Whitt on a fly ball to centre fielder Rich Manning for the 27th and final out in a 3-0 win over the Jays before 7,290 fans in Cleveland. Make it 27 up ... 27 down ... only the 10th perfect game in history. Barker didn’t walk a man and didn’t allow a base hit and struck out 11 (Lloyd Moseby, George Bell, John Mayberry and Damaso Garcia twice each, plus Danny Ainge, Al Woods and Buck Martinez once each) to move to 3-1, lowering his ERA to 1.31. Proving he was a man ahead of his time, Indians manager Davey Garcia dropped the Indians policy against allowing women into the clubhouse and Alison Gordon of the Toronto Star was able to get the reaction at Barker’s locker rather than outside in the hallway.

4. Sept. 24, 1988.

Stieb took a no-hit bid into the ninth and looked like he had the no-no he’d chased so long when he got Julio Franco to bounce to second baseman Manny Lee. Not so fast. The ball took a bad hop and skipped over Lee for a single. Pitching with the slimmest of leads -- provided by Rob Ducey’s fly ball in the top of the ninth -- he retired Dave Clark on a deep fly ball for the 1-0 win before 8,157 in Cleveland. Stieb walked two and fanned eight. In his final start at Exhibition Stadium, he was in the same spot when he popped up Jim Traber of the Baltimore Orioles with two out. First baseman Fred McGriff turned the wrong way on the ball and it fell for a two-out single.

5. May 4, 1980.

Slugger Otto Velez hit four homers as the Jays swept a doubleheader at Exhibition Stadium, 10-9 and 7-2.  He hit a grand slam homer in the first inning off Dan Spillner for a 4-0 lead, a two-run homer in the eighth facing Wayne Garland for an 8-6 lead, and a walk-off homer leading off the 10th against Sid Monge. In the nitecap, he hit a three-run, first inning homer off Bob Owchinko. On the day, Velez was 4-for-9 (all homers) with 10 RBIs.

Do you have any more?