By: Duanys Hernandez Torres
Cubans Luis Tiant, Orestes Minoso and Antonio Oliva are among the ten proposed to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. On December 7 and 8 a committee of 16 people in San Diego will be responsible for deciding the fate of the Cubans.
Orestes Minoso is an idol in the Chicago White Sox, and was the first black player to wear that team´s flannel. The legendary “Minnie” participated in nine All-Star games and won three Gold Gloves. He also tied for the record of playing in the majors for five decades since he debuted in the 1949 season and officially retired in 1980.
The great Matanzas player averaged 298 in his lifetime in the majors, with an OBP of 389 and drove in 1023 runs. The Cuban Comet was characterized by his great explosion when running the bases that led him to win three leaderships in stolen bases and triples. The call to Cooperstown at 88, after several ballots that he has not been accepted, it would be a fine gift for his fruitful career.
Luis Tiant Jr. won over two hundred games in the MLB. His record of 229 wins and 172 lost made him one of the top pitchers in the 60 and 70 in the MLB. His ERA in 19 seasons was 3.30. He struck out 2416 opponents, completed 187 games and had 49 shutouts.
What’s more: he played in three All-Star games and won two of three games that he opened in the fall of 1975. His performance in the 1975 World Series won by the Red Machine of Cincinnati who was commanded by another Cuban Tany Perez, it was very good. Even Tiant opened the legendary sixth game though it was no decision since he left it tied at three runs. This game ended in victory for the Reds in 12 innings but Tiant opening was worthy after winning the first game (with shutout of 173 pitches) and the fourth to even the series.
His 1968 and 1973 seasons were simply from another galaxy. On the so-called ‘ pitchers season ‘ he won 21 games, threw for 1.68, was a leader in shutouts with 9 and fewer hits per nine innings (5.30). The latter is still the franchise record for the Cleveland Indians. In 1973 he had a 20-13 mark, and led in WHIP and 1.09 K / 9 to 9.22. Such was his quality that your manager in the Red Sox Darell Johnson once said: “If a man put a gun to my head and said I’ll die if I do not win this game, I would not hesitate to put Luis Tiant for the win »
Tony Oliva was one of the three Cubans who signed as a professional after the World Championship held in Costa Rica in 1961. With Minnesota Twins he played 15 seasons. He was called to the All-Star Game in his first eight seasons and broke the previous record of the legendary Joe Dimaggio who got in his first six seasons.
In 1964, by almost unanimous vote, he was chosen Rookie of the Year. He was the first to win the American League in that condition, and also be the leading hitter with 323. During that season he was also a leader in hits, doubles, RBIs and traveled bases and runs scored. He won three batting titles and aGold Glove and five times he led in hits. He finished with the second-year syndrome by winning the tournament in 1965, batting for the second consecutive year with an average of 321 in a championship where only three batters compiled over 300.
The knee injuries manhandled the Pinar del Rio player but this did not stop him from hitting 304 in 15 seasons, with 220 homers and 947 RBIs and 1917 hits.
This triad of great players should already be in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but perhaps their being Cubans prevented them from the exaltation that have deserved by their own right. Hopefully justice will be done in December.