Looie Looie


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Cambridge Little League coach inspired by Red Sox legend Luis Tiant

Looie Looie; who could ever forget that chant. From 35,000 plus fans; Tiant wound up like a whirlwind and jerked his head and fired the baseball home to strike out the batter who had a full count on him with the bases loaded. Fenway exploded with cheers of joy and happiness as Looie won yet another drama- packed close game. Back in the day, it was not unusual for tiant to pitch 160 pitches. Sometimes even more. As all great sports players Looie did not have an easy road to the Red Sox, and an appearance in the fall classic also known as the World Series. As luck would have  it I got to see El Tiante in his early years as he dazzled his American League hitters with a smoking fastball and a sharp breaking curve. Luis was a 20 game winner for the Cleveland Indians. My grandparents Rose And Henry took me to my very first Red Sox game.

Now I never heard of Luis tiant, at my tender age of eight years old. now all I cared about was Tony Conigliaro also known as Tony C., number 25.It was now time for Tony to face Luis Tiant. I stood on my feet to get a better view. I could hardly contain myself. My heart beat so hard and fast. I had to sit down and collect myself. Then I accidentally spilled my drink and as I reached down to pick it up the crowd at Fenway roared. They roared louder that any sound my little eight year old ears had ever heard. I gathered myself and looked out on the field. there was tony C. rounding the bases as I could see the ball resting in the net. That is right, the net. Back in the day there was a net over the green monster which collected home runs. I had missed the home run.

Little did I know that 20 years later, I would see the man they called Looie in a Red Sox uniform winning so many games in dramatic fashion .He paced the Red Sox to the greatest World Series, ( most baseball historians would call it.) So Looie, who was, a 20 game winner more than once, A World Series, and my favorite baseball player in my adult life, now began to get the accolades he so richly deserved. Can I dare say that I believe that he believes in the hall of fame. I believe so and I will tell you why. He didn't have more wins or strikeouts or no-hitters. He had something a lot of sport players had. What was it? It was heart  H-E-A-R-T.

Earlier in this story, when we met Looie in a Cleveland Indians uniform, he was on his way to a twenty win season with just a few losses. oh well years went by and Looie who once was a dominant pitcher was let go by the Indians. For whatever reason and I wish I knew what that reason was. I saw it in the paper that Looie was no longer the all-star pitcher that he had been. It didn't bother me very much because all I knew about Tiant at the time was that he had given up a homerun to my favorite player.

Memory escapes me but I believe that Looie had caught on with another team and didn't do very well. Then, one day I saw in the paper that Looie was picked up by the Boston Red Sox. I felt so joyful to be on Looies side. Earlier in his career, Looie got people out with a fastball, a change up and a wide assortment of breaking pitches. He was a master at his craft.

So why the Hall o Fame? Because he had come full circle. He was one of baseballs elite in his early years. For some reason he lost, it and would've been out of baseball if my beloved Red Sox had never given him a new chance at pitching. He became, what they call a junk-ball pitcher to go along with his fastball. He had a unique windup and delivery, and he brought the Red Sox to the afore-mentioned World Series. Luis was at the top. He fell all the way to the minor leagues and brought himself to the Red Sox for a bucnd of years. How many sports players can you think of who went from the toop to the bottom and back to the top again. LOOIE LOOIE. YOU BELONG IN THE HALL OF FAME.