Monday, September 3, 2012

Tiant in the Twin Cities

You may or may not have seen my poor attempt at humor early Sunday morning on what "SP" stands for.  I humorously stated that the post was educational, when of course it really wasn't.  Instead, this post will teach me a little more about the history of one of the more colorful players the game has seen, Luis Tiant.

The education comes from a card I purchased at the National, a '71 Topps, card #95.

It's cards like this that encourage me to look up the career statistics of a player, and I usually end up surprised in the process.  The first surprise is seeing Tiant in a Twins uniform.  I had no idea that Luis ever played in Minnesota.  Turns out that the 1970 season was the only year that Luis was in Minnesota, as he would be released prior to the start of the '71 season by the Twins.  Tiant had a decent '70 season, going 7-3 in 17 starts with a 3.40 ERA.  (Tiant also was a terror at the plate that year, hitting .406 in 32 ABs)

After being released at the end of spring training in '71, Tiant was signed a little over 2 weeks later by the Braves, but never threw a pitch for them in the majors.  Luis was released a month later on the 15th of May, then signed on the 17th of May by the Red Sox.

The '71 season is his worst statistically during his career, which is kind of understandable with Luis being part of 3 organizations over a 6 week period at the start of the season. You've heard a lot recently about how brutal the Boston media can be, and that was evident after his first appearance in Boston when he gave up five runs in only 1 inning.  A Boston Globe reporter wrote that the Red Sox signing Tiant to a contract equated to someone taking a bag full of money and throwing it into the Atlantic Ocean.  Ouch.  Tiant definitely makes up for the poor '71 season by winning 121 games over the next 7 years in a Red Sox uniform, including 3 20+ win seasons.

The final 4 years of a very long career were split between the Yankees (79-80), Pittsburgh (81) and the Angels (82).  Tiant won 229 games over his career, and led the American League in ERA twice and shutouts once.

Oh ya, did I mention he owned what may have been the greatest wind up in the history of the game?  I know that if it was me trying to perform that wind up 60-70 times a game, I sure would have been dizzy.

Thanks for reading, Robert

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