Leaguer of the Month
Luis Tiant, Sr.
Born: August 27, 1906 in Havana, Cuba
Died: December 10, 1976 in Mass.
Ht: 6'-0", Wt: 165
Batted right and threw left.
Teams: Alemenderes (Cuba), Cuban Stars, Cuban House of David,
New York Cubans, Aguilas Cabaenas (Dominican Republic)
you ever watched Luis Tiant, Jr. pitch for the Boston Red Sox
or Cleveland Indians in the 1960s and 70s, you have an idea how
his father of the same name pitched. Junior was the mirror image
of his dad, as they both had a dozen different pitches and deliveries;
the only difference was the elder Tiant was left-handed.
Sr. was born and raised in Cuba and was playing with grown men
as a teenager. Although he had good speed, he was not overpowering,
so he learned to throw from a variety of angles, with a dozen
different grips, and a herky-jerky motion to keep batters constantly
off-balance and guessing. Tiant also had a mean streak and wasn't
adverse to beaning batters who looked too comfortable at the plate.
Both Tiants were masters of picking off baserunners with moves
that bordered on balks.
first played in the United States in the early 1930s with various
teams advertised as "Cuban," though many players on
those teams were not from Cuba.
was often called the "Cuban Carl Hubbell" for his fine
left-handed pitching and awesome screwball.
1935, Tiant pitched against the St. Louis Cardinals and the Babe
Ruth All-Stars in exhibitions in Cuba, winning all three games
and not allowing a home run to the Bambino.
1937, Tiant joined Martin Dihigo and the Aguilas Cabaenas team
in the Dominican Republic. Tiant went 1-3 on the mound and his
team lost to Ciudad Trujillo (featuring Satchel, Josh Gibson,
Cool Papa Bell and Sam Bankhead) in the championship game.
Luis Tiant pitched in two East-West games, in 1935 and '47. In
the '35 classic, Tiant allowed three runs on one hit and two walks
but didn't figure in the decision. In the '47 game, Tiant again
didn't get a decision as he pitched 2-2/3 innings without allowing
Tiant had one of his greatest seasons at age 40, with a perfect
record in league games and leading his New York Cubans to the
Negro National League pennant, then a victory in the Negro League
World Series against the Cleveland Buckeyes.
retiring from baseball, Tiant worked as a furniture mover.
1975, Tiant was allowed by Cuban president Fidel Castro to visit
the United States and watch his son pitch in the World Series
against the Cincinnati Reds.