Cooperstown Chronicles – Luís Tiant

Oct 4, 2008
Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

The Veterans Committee is going to vote on twenty players for induction into the Hall of Fame.  There are ten players pre-1943 and ten post-1943.  Today I profile Luis Tiant from that group.

The Numbers
Played 1964-1982 (19 seasons)
573 Games
484 Starts (53rd All-time)
3486-1/3 Innings (72nd All-time)
229 Wins (63rd All-time) -172 Losses
.571 Winning %
3.30 ERA (3.78 League Average)
1.199 WHIP
2416 Ks (35th All-time)
187 Complete Games
49 Shutouts (21st All-time)
15 Saves

Four 20+ Win Seasons
Six sub-3.00 ERA Seasons (two sub-2.00)
Three 200+ Strikeout Seasons

Playoffs:  5 Games, 4 Starts, 34-2/3 Innings, 3-0, 2.86 ERA, 20 Ks, 3 Complete Games

1972 Comeback Player of the Year
1975 AL Babe Ruth Award
3 All-Star Game appearances
Cy Young Votes in 3 Seasons
MVP Votes in 4 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Starts – Twice
Innings – 3 Times
Wins – 5 Times
Winning % – 5 Times
ERA – 4 Times (Led league in 1968 & 1972)
WHIP – 5 Times (Led league in 1973)
Strikeouts – 5 Times
Complete Games – 6 Times
Shutouts – 7 Times (Led league in 1966, 1968, & 1974)

Hall of Fame Yardsticks:
Black Ink: Pitching – 13 (164) (Average HOFer ≈ 40)
Gray Ink: Pitching – 115 (165) (Average HOFer ≈ 185)
HOF Standards: Pitching – 41.0 (66) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Pitching – 97.0 (99) (Likely HOFer > 100)

As a Red Sox fan I would love to say El Tiante is Hall of Fame worthy, but I would be doing Coopestown a disservice.  Don’t get me wrong, Tiant was a great pitcher, he just comes up short in HOF material, as indicated in the Yardsticks above.  He recorded four 20+ seasons, which is good not great.  His adjusted ERA (114) is tied for 210th.  I do like the way he made the transition from fireballer to pitcher when arm troubles sapped his fastball, but that’s not enough to earn him a spot in Cooperstown. 


Past Chronicles
Roberto Alomar
Richie Ashburn*
Earl Averill*
Harold Baines

Dan Bancroft*
Jake Beckley*

Albert Belle
Jim Bottomley*
Pete Browning

Jim Bunning *
Bert Byleven
Joe Carter
Orlando Cepeda*
Rocky Colavito
Earle Combs*
Dave Concepcion
David Cone
Roger Connor*
Larry Corcoran

Mike Cuellar
George Davis*
Andre Dawson
Larry Doby*
Bobby Doerr*
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Dwight Evans
Rick Ferrell*
Chuck Finley
Steve Finley
Nellie Fox*
John Franco

Gary Gaetti
Steve Garvey
Lefty Gomez*
Luis Gonzalez
Dwight Gooden
Mark Grace
Bobby Grich
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Ron Guidry
Chick Hafey*

Billy Herman*
Keith Hernandez
Orel Hershiser
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Gil Hodges
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Travis Jackson*
Tommy John
Bob Johnson
Addie Joss*
Jim Kaat
George Kell*
Joe Kelley*
George Kelly*
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Chuck Klein*
Jerry Koosman
Bill James & Pete Palmer
Barry Larkin
Tony Lazzeri*
Freddie Lindstrom*
Mickey Lolich
Ernie Lombardi*
Fred Lynn
Sherry Magee

Roger Maris
Rube Marquard*
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Dennis Martinez
Edgar Martinez
Bobby Matthews
Don Mattingly
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Bill Mazeroski*
Fred McGriff

Mark McGwire
Bid McPhee
Johnny Mize*
Paul Molitor*
Jack Morris
Tony Mullane
Dale Murphy
Graig Nettles
Hal Newhouser*
Lefty O’Doul
Tony Oliva
Al Oliver

Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Dave Parker
Wes Parker
Lance Parrish
Vada Pinson
Boog Powell
Tim Raines
Willie Randolph
Pee Wee Reese*
Jim Rice
Phil Rizzuto*
Brooks Robinson*
Pete Ro$e
Amos Rusie*
Jimmy Ryan
Ron Santo
Curt Schilling
Red Schoendienst* (Player/Manager)
Ted Simmons
Enos Slaughter*
Lee Smith
Rusty Staub
Dave Stieb
Mel Stottlemyre
Harry Stovey
Sam Thompson
Alan Trammell
George Van Haltren
Arky Vaughan*
Mo Vaughn
Bobby Veach
Frank Viola
Mickey Welch*
Lou Whitaker
Bernie Williams
Vic Willis*
Maury Wills 
Hack Wilson*
Ross Youngs*
Veterans Committee Ballot

* Signifies actual Hall of Famer

. .

11 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Larry Novak
    October 4th, 2008 at 3:39 pm #

    He just did not have enough good seasons. If he would have had maybe 2 more solid seasons he would be a lock.
    I am a Yankee fan since 1961, first year I remember.
    My first game ever was oldTimers day 1965 Yankees vs Indians.
    The starting pitchers were Whitey Ford vs Luis Tiant.
    I always liked him, even before I knew I was supposed to (“HATE” the Red Sox). Thanks to Bill Lee, Carlton Fisk, and later Pedro Martinez, Kevin Millar, Jason Veretek, and Kevin Youkolis.

  2. 3rdStoneFromTheSun
    October 4th, 2008 at 7:51 pm #

    agreed Lester

    he was very good

    but no

  3. LestersLegends
    October 4th, 2008 at 10:38 pm #

    Larry – thanks for sharing
    3rd – yep

  4. James
    December 20th, 2008 at 9:23 pm #

    How is Jim Bunning worthy of the Hall of Fame and Luis Tiant is not. There record is almost exactly the same except Tiant had 4 20 win seasons and Bunning had one.

  5. Cooperstown Chronicles - Jesse Haines | 1800blogger
    May 7th, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    [...] Slaughter* Lee Smith Rusty Staub Vern Stephens Dave Stieb Mel Stottlemyre Harry Stovey Sam Thompson Luís Tiant Joe Torre Alan Trammell George Van Haltren Arky Vaughan* Mo Vaughn Bobby Veach Mickey Vernon Frank [...]

  6. Cooperstown Chronicles - Waite Hoyt | 1800blogger
    May 20th, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    [...] Slaughter* Lee Smith Rusty Staub Vern Stephens Dave Stieb Mel Stottlemyre Harry Stovey Sam Thompson Luís Tiant Joe Torre Alan Trammell George Van Haltren Arky Vaughan* Mo Vaughn Bobby Veach Mickey Vernon Frank [...]

  7. erik
    August 9th, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    yeah. if bunning is in so should tiant and lolich.

  8. Anonymous
    August 15th, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    Luis Tiant is borderline HoF material. Quite borderline. I personally think he should be in. His career 114 ERA+ is a fine ERA+ over 3486 IP. His best two seasons carry a ton of weight in his HoF arguement. A 186 ERA+ year is outstanding and a 170 ERA+ year is also amazing. Those two seasons are a great peak. He had a .871 WHIP in 1968, the year Bob Gibson and Denny McLain stole the glory. Tiant ’68 > McLain ’68. His career record is okay at 229-172. His five year peak from 1968-1972 carries a ton of weight in his arguement. From 1968-75, here are Tiant’s numbers:
    125 ERA+
    1.159 WHIP
    2.90 ERA
    1034 K
    1435.1 IP

    That is a HoF-worthy peak when coupled withy nearly 230 Wins and a decent ERA+. The flaw with your “210th in ERA+”, Lester, is that counts people with minimum 1000 IP so guys like Josh Beckett and Mark Buerhle are listed ahead of him.
    Here are the people with more innings and a better ERA+ than Tiant:
    Eppa Rixey 115 & 1.272
    Phil Niekro 115 & 1.268
    Ferguson Jenkins 115 & 1.142
    Steve Carlton 115 & 1.247
    Gaylord Perry 117 & 1.181
    Vic Willis 118 & 1.209
    Warren Spahn 118 & 1.195
    Tony Mullane 118 & 1.237
    Jim McCormick 118 & 1.132
    Ted Lyons 118 & 1.348
    Tom Glavine 118 & 1.314
    Bert Blyleven 118 & 1.198
    Charley Radbourn 119 & 1.149
    Red Faber 119 & 1.302
    Will White 120 & 1.111
    Eddie Plank 122 & 1.119
    Bob Feller 122 & 1.316
    Mike Mussina 123 & 1.192
    Juan Marichal 123 & 1.101
    Jim Palmer 126 & 1.180
    Tom Seaver 127 & 1.121
    Tim Keefe 127 & 1.121
    Bob Gibson 127 & 1.188
    Amos Rusie 129 & 1.350
    Carl Hubbell 130 & 1.166
    John Clarkson 134 & 1.209
    Christy Mathewson 135 & 1.059
    Pete Alexander 135 & 1.121
    Randy Johnson 136 & 1.171
    Cy Young 138 & 1.130
    Kid Nichols 140 & 1.222
    Roger Clemens 143 & 1.173
    Walter Johnson 147 & 1.061
    Lefty Grove 148 & 1.278
    Honorable Mention to Pedro Martinez (154 & 1.052 over 2760ish IP)

    Of all those only these have lower WHIP’s than Tiant

    That, my friend, is 21. 21 pitchers in Baseball history have pitched as many, or more, innings as Luis Tiant with a better or equal ERA+ and a lower WHIP. That’s a great club, also..

  9. Denise
    November 7th, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    I have an autographed photo signed by Tiant. Is it worth anything?

  10. LestersLegends
    November 8th, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    I’m not all that informed about the values of collectibles, but I’m sure it’s worth something.

  11. clevelander
    November 23rd, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    Mel Harder is the best pitcher not in the HOF. Someone needs to correct this travesty!

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