The 40 Greatest Orioles of All-Time - No. 27 - Steve Barber

27. Steve Barber, LHP (1960-1967)

All-Star: 1963, 1966

Barber was one of the "Baby Birds," and was the second-best of the group behind Milt Pappas. Barber could hurl, and he had some gas on his fastball, but he was wild. In his rookie season (1960), he was 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA, which was good for sixth in the league. He also finished third in hits allowed per nine innings (7.33). He was also first in walks (113, compared to 112 strikeouts) and wild pitches (10).

Along with his wildness (he would walk 130 people in 1961 over 248 1/3 innings, and never really get a whole lot better about it), he had some mechanical issues that ultimately caused him tendinitis in his elbow and cost him a lot of innings. But when he was healthy, he could pitch.

Barber's first four years in the league were all solid, though one was hampered by injury. In '61, he was 18-12 with a 3.33 ERA, in '62 he was 9-6 with a 3.46 ERA over 140 1/3 innings, and in '63 he became the first 20-game winner in modern franchise history, going 20-13 with a 2.75 ERA and 180 strikeouts. He had a rough 1964, but bounced back the next season to win 15 games with a 2.69 ERA. Elbow problems cost him a lot of 1966, when the Orioles won the World Series and Barber was pitching his best, at 10-5 with a 2.30 ERA.

In 1967, Barber threw 8 1/3 hitless innings in his first start before Jim Fregosi got a hit, and then two weeks later combined with Stu Miller to throw a no-hitter in a 2-1 loss to the Tigers. But he started slow with the Orioles and was traded to the Yankees. He did poorly there and was drafted by the Seattle Pilots in the 1968 expansion draft. He was released by the then-Brewers in 1970, signed by the Cubs, released a couple months later, signed by the Braves, and stayed there for a year and change as an ineffective reliever. He did pitch well in 34 games (three starts) for the Angels after they signed him in 1972, and threw one more year with them. He was traded back to Milwaukee in October 1973, but released in March 1974. After 13 games with the Giants in 1974, Barber was released. He signed with the Cardinals, but never played for them and retired.

I guess Barber kind of lines up with Daniel Cabrera. He was a guy with control issues that pitched around them and eventually settled down enough to not have to be so lucky. If he'd had better health, he'd have ranked higher than this, but he didn't, so he doesn't.

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