Born Nov 23, 1940 in Marianao
. Major league baseball pitcher
for 19 years; known for his odd pitching deliveries and fiendly cigar
-smoking off-field persona. Known as "El Tiante
" in Boston
Son of Luis Tiant Sr., a great pitcher for Cuban teams and the New York Cubans, but who never played in the major leagues because of his skin color.
Luis Tiant Jr. had a wide array of pitching deliveries, many of which involved looking at second base, the sky, or generally anywhere but home plate. Roger Angell called it "a perfect variety show of accompanying gestures and impersonations," and came up with a list of Tiant's different deliveries, including "Falling Off the Fence," "The Runaway Taxi," and "The Low-Flying Plane."
The Cleveland Indians signed Tiant in 1961 from the Mexican Leagues, and he made his pitching debut in 1964. In 1968, the year of the pitcher, he led the American League with a 1.60 ERA. He slumped in 1969, losing 20 games, and was traded to the Minnesota Twins.
In 1971, Tiant signed with the Boston Red Sox, and from 1972 to 1976 enjoyed a run as one of the best pitchers in the league. In 1975 he won 18 games in leading the Red Sox to the World Series. In 1978 Tiant won the last game of the regular season for the Red Sox (his last in a Red Sox uniform), forcing a one-game playoff with the New York Yankees.
Tiant signed with the Yankees as a free agent before the 1979 season, and retired in 1982 after a year each with the Pittsburgh Pirates and California Angels. He is currently the pitching coach at Savannah College.