Today I was on the phone with one of my best friends in baseball.
Luis Tiant, The greatest pitcher ever to come out of Cuba was talking to me with a true appreciation for what he had just seen.
The Yankee RedSox game had just finished and Nestor Cortez, the Bomber’s most dependable starter this season had just pitched six very crafty innings.
The first thing that The great Tiant said to me was, I have been watching this young man this season and the thing that I can tell you about him is that he became one of the best pitchers because… Mentally Physically and spiritually… he truly believed in himself.
People will never understand how much work went behind Cortez becoming one of the five most valuable players on this Yanks team.
Tiant continued by saying that he has never met Nestor but knows that Cortez has had to reinvent himself several times in order to become the pitcher that he is today.
Tiant says that he has heard the comparisons to himself and is flattered by them. Yankee broadcaster Michael Kay called Nasty Nestor the left-handed Tiant and Luis laughed and said shyly… You mean I was the right-handed Nestor… then we laughed. From his heart, Tiant meant that as a compliment.
At that point, Tiant asked me to send Nestor a message. Please Please don’t let anyone mess with your pitching style or motion. No one can really understand what you have created with your delivery and style. I do because I have been where you are and where you are going. I have had to reinvent myself a couple of times in order to succeed in this very difficult business called Major League Baseball.
Luis Tiant has always been very proud of his Cuban heritage and is the man that made me understand why I should always be proud of my own Cuban heritage.
Luis naturally couldn’t help but be very proud of the fact that Nestor is also Cuban and like the great line of great pitchers that got to the big leagues from Cuba, he too has become an amazing role model for all people, not just Cuban people.
Luis Tiant will always be one of the greatest people that I have ever known. That and besides the fact that he was one of the greatest pitchers of his generation, that is one of the reasons why he is being inducted into the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame this year. Tiant without a doubt belongs in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but that’s a story for another day. Today Tiant says the story is Nasty Nestor Cortez and how like Tiant in the 70s has captivated the baseball world today!