Sadly, this is what I think of when I see Luis Tiant

1980 Topps #35 - Luis Tiant - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

1980 Topps #35 – Luis Tiant – Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

“El Tiante” was a four-time 20 game winner and twice led the league in ERA.  So what leaps to mind when I see a picture of him?  A very cheesy 1970’s commercial for “Yankee Franks”, a regional brand of hot dog at the time.  After Tiant signed with the Yankees as a free agent, he appeared in this commercial which ends with Tiant looking into the camera and saying, in his thick Cuban accent, “Eet’s great to be weeth a wiener”… because he could be saying ‘winner’ or ‘wiener’, get it?  …Yeah, well I said it was cheesy.

I’d include a link to this commercial, but it doesn’t appear to be out there anywhere.  Most online references I’ve seen don’t even get the brand of hot dog right.

So, I apologize, Luis… Lo siento… But this commercial’s catchphrase is what immediately jumps to mind when I see one of your baseball cards.

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2 thoughts on “Sadly, this is what I think of when I see Luis Tiant

  1. Yes, I cannot find the commercial anywhere on the net, almost like it was scrubbed. The 1980 Yankees yearbook had a full pager, Tiant holding up the dog. I’m an A’s fan in New York, and they played that commercial five times a day. In mid April, when the advertising geniuses realized, what I did two weeks prior as a 12 year old, that El Tiante was long done.

  2. That’s exactly what I think of as well. The year before he was a closer for the Red Sox. The Yankees did with him what they have done for so many other nemeses: acquisition. Hopefully the MLB Hall of Fame will finally vote him in soon. As we see a future influx of young Cuban players, we should remember him as one of the pioneers.

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