Luis Tiant’s big league career was on the ropes after a 1971 season in which he had been released by two teams and pitched poorly when given a new lease on life by the Red Sox, who signed him in May of that year.
Tiant revived his career in 1972, earning a spot in Boston’s bullpen before joining the rotation in early August where he was dynamite over the final two months, at one point throwing four consecutive shutouts.
After Aug. 5, Tiant was almost unhittable, appearing in 14 games, starting 13, and going 11-2 with a 1.20 ERA and 0.888 WHIP in 112.2 innings, tossing 10 complete games and six shutouts in that span, helping the Red Sox to within ½ game of the American League East title in the strike-shortened season.
For the season, Tiant led the American League in ERA and locked himself into the starting rotation for the next six seasons.
He was an All-Star in 1974 and 1976, winning 20 games three times from 1973-78, and led the AL with a 1.085 WHIP in 1973 and seven shutouts in 1974.
He was fourth in the Cy Young voting in 1974 and fifth in 1976.
Despite a sub-par 1975 season, Tiant had an amazing postseason as the Red Sox won their first AL East title. He was 3-0 in four starts agaisnt the Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox, throwing a three-hitter at the A’s in Game 1 of Boston’s three-game ALCS sweep.
He had a 3.60 ERA and 1.320 WHIP in 25 World Series innings, throwing two complete games and shutting out the Reds in Game 1.
In November 1978, Tiant signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees.
In parts of eight seasons with Boston, Tiant was 122-81 with a 3.36 ERA and 1.201 WHIP in 1,774.2 innings, with an ERA+ of 118 and 1,075 strikeouts to go with 113 complete games and 26 shutouts.
Tiant began his pro career in 1959 with the Mexico City Tigers, per the Society for American Baseball Research, but did not return to his native Cuba after the Fidel Castro government in 1961 banned all travel outside the country.
Tiant was purchased by the Cleveland Indians before the 1962 season and reached the majors in July 1964. He also pitched with the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates and California Angels until 1982 and played one more season in Mexico before retiring in 1983 at age 42.
Tiant worked as a Yankees scout in Mexico after retiring before coaching in the minors with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox in the 1990s. He was also head baseball coach for the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia for four years.
For several years after the turn of the century, Tiant worked for the Red Sox as a minor-league pitching coach and Spanish-language broadcaster.