March 31, 1971: Twins Release Tiant

Luis Tiant posted double-digit wins his first five seasons in Cleveland, including 21 in 1968, with a league-leading 1.60 ERA and 0.871 WHIP. Detroit’s Denny McLain led the majors with 31 wins that season, while St. Louis’s Bob Gibson led the majors with a 1.12 ERA and 0.853 WHIP. Quite a season for pitchers.

Tiant tied for the major league lead with 20 losses in 1969, while still posting a 3.3 WAR.

The Twins acquired Tiant and Stan Williams from Cleveland in exchange for Dean ChanceTed UhlaenderGraig Nettles, and Bob Miller on December 10, 1969.

Tiant pitched in only 18 games for the Twins in 1970, going 7-3 with a 3.40 ERA, 1.349 WHIP, and 1.2 WAR. He was released by the Twins on March 31, 1971, signed by Atlanta on April 16, and released again on May 15 before finally signing with the Red Sox May 17.

After one of the worst seasons of his career in 1971, Tiant posted double-digit wins the next eight consecutive seasons, including three seasons with 20+ wins.

Thirty-one years later the Twins released David Ortiz, but that’s a story for another Almanac.

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