Tiant's HOF bid falls short on committee's ballot

Morris, Trammell only two among 10 candidates to get call

December 10th, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- In the 1970s, the man the Red Sox wanted on the mound in a big game was Luis Tiant.

The charismatic righty with a unique windup, in which his back would be contorted as he fired the ball to home plate, put up similar numbers to Hall of Famers such as Catfish Hunter, Jim Bunning and Don Drysdale.

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Once again, however, Tiant's impressive body of work was not enough to land him in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was one of 10 candidates on the Modern Era Committee's ballot, and it was announced Sunday night that right-hander Jack Morris and shortstop Alan Trammell are the only two members on the ballot to join the Class of 2018.

Tiant fell short, along with Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons and executive Marvin Miller.

There are 16 voting members on the Hall of Fame board-appointed electorate for the Modern Era ballot, and each voter could pick up to four nominees. A finalist needed at least 75 percent of the votes to receive entry into the Hall.

This year's ballot featured players whose most significant impact happened from 1970-87.

Tiant was on the BBWAA ballot from 1988-2002, but never topped the 30.9 percent mark he got in his first year of eligibility.

The 77-year-old Tiant has been on the Veterans Committee's ballot several times, and he holds out hope that he'll one day be around to enjoy his induction to Cooperstown.

"I've waited 28 years and still haven't been in there," Tiant said in an interview with MLB.com earlier this year. "Why would you be in there after you die? That's not fair. That's what happened to Ron Santo. You want to enjoy it with your family."

In his 19-year career, Tiant went 229-172 with a 3.30 ERA and had 2,416 strikeouts.

Though Tiant is best remembered for his eight years (1971-78) with the Red Sox, his most magnificent season was in 1968 for the Cleveland Indians, when he went 21-9 with a 1.60 ERA.

Tiant burst on the national stage while pitching in the epic 1975 World Series for the Red Sox. After twirling a shutout to win Game 1, Tiant again was victorious with a 165-pitch performance against the loaded Cincinnati Reds, who went on to win the series in seven games.

"In my time, that's what we did, we finished games," Tiant said. "My father used to tell me, 'What you start, you finish.' That's how you learned, and you grew up that way. Now it's different. They are protected more. I guess you have to because there's a lot of money involved. A lot of guys want to keep pitching, but they come out."