Luis Tiant is one of the most charismatic and accomplished players in the history of the Boston Red Sox and all of Major League Baseballa cigar-chomping maestro who was the heart and soul of Boston’s title-contending teams in the 1970s. In his white polyester uniform, with a barrel-chested physique and a Fu Manchu mustache, Tiant may not have looked like the lean, sculpted aces he usually faced off against, but nobody was a tougher competitor on the diamond, and few were as successful. There may be no more qualified 20th-century pitcher not yet enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
His big-league dreams came at a steep priceracism in the Deep South and the Boston suburbs, and nearly fifteen years separated from a family held captive in Castro’s Cuba. But baseball also delivered World Series stardom and a heroic return to his island home after close to a half-century of forced exile. The man whose name"El Tiante"became a Fenway Park battle cry has never fully shared his tale in his own words, until now.
In Son of Havana, Tiant puts his huge heart on his sleeve and describes his road from fields strewn with rocks and rubbish in Havana to the pristine lawns of major league ballparks. Teammates, opponents, family, and media also weigh-inincluding a foreword by fellow Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski and the first in-depth interview ever with Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk on the magic behind these Boston batterymates.
Readers will share Tiant’s pride when appeals by a pair of U.S. senators to baseball-fanatic Castro secure freedom for Luis’s parents to fly to Boston and witness the 1975 World Series glory of their child. And readers will join the big-league ballplayers for their spring 2016 exhibition game in Havana, when Tianta living link to the earliest, scariest days of the Castro regimethrew out the first pitch.
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About the Author
Saul Wisnia has authored, co-authored, or otherwise contributed to numerous books on Boston and general baseball history, including Fenway Park: The Centennial and Miracle at Fenway: The Inside Story of the Boston Red Sox 2004 Championship Season. He is a former sports and news correspondent at the Washington Post and feature writer at the Boston Herald, whose essays have appeared in Sports Illustrated, the Boston Globe, Red Sox Magazine, and Boston Magazine. For the past twenty years, he has chronicled the unique relationship between the Red Sox and young cancer patients as senior publications editor-writer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Wisnia lives in his native Newton, Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
Foreword Carl Yastrzemski iv
1 Shutting Up Pete Rose 1
2 Señor Skinny 5
3 Cuba Dreams 15
4 You Can't Go Home Again 24
5 From the Bushes to the Bronx 38
6 Coming of Age in Cleveland 57
7 Poor Man's McLain 78
8 Down and (Almost) Out 92
9 Twin Killings and Red Sox 109
10 Rebirth in Boston 122
11 Pudge and Me 143
12 Heart and Soul 154
13 Race and Reunion 170
14 The World is Watching 190
15 Damn Yankees 213
16 Over My Dead Body 227
17 Pinstripes and Plataneros 246
18 Finally, Back at Fenway 264
19 Home to Havana 285
About the Authors 314