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Luis Tiant is a legendary baseball pitcher and character. One of the most popular players in Red Sox history, he was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 1997. There are many who believe “El Tiante” should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as well. In his 19-season career (with Cleveland, Minnesota, Boston, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh and California), Luis won 229 games, recorded 2,416 strikeouts, 187 complete games, 49 shutouts, and a career ERA of 3.30. He broke into the majors with Cleveland in 1964.

In his MLB debut, Luis shutout the defending AL champion New York Yankees (3-0) at Yankee Stadium, allowing only four hits while striking out eleven. In 1966, he recorded four straight shutouts, a feat that has been matched by only three other pitchers (Gaylord Perry, Orel Hershiser and Cory Lidle) in the expansion era. In 1968, he altered his delivery so that he turned away from home plate during his motion. The results were phenomenal. Luis led the league in ERA in 1968 (1.60, the lowest in the American League since 1919), while pitching a league-high 9 shutouts. He also led the league in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (5.3) and most strikeouts per nine innings (9.22).

He struck out 19 Twins in one game and set the Major League record for strikeouts in consecutive starts with 32. Opposing batters hit just .168 against him that season, a major-league record. Luis was hampered by injuries in the period 1969-71, but his career was rejuvenated with the Red Sox in 1972 when he won 15 games and again led the league in ERA (1.91). He won 20 games for the Sox in 1973 and 22 in 1974. He won 18 games for the AL Champion Sox in ’75, and was magnificent in the postseason.

Tiant pitched a complete game three-hitter against Oakland in the ALCS, and won two games in the World Series against Cincinnati. In Game One against the “Big Red Machine”, with his mother and father in the stands at Fenway Park having been allowed to visit from Cuba on a special visa, he threw a five-hit shutout in a 6-0 Boston win. He was a three-time All-Star, he twice led the league in ERA and three times led the league in strikeouts. The charismatic pitcher is also well known as a prankster and cigar smoker.

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