Two web sites have recently named 2 of the 1964 Indians’ pitching staff the best pitchers not yet in the Hall of Fame. Luis Tiant and Tommy John were members of the Indians’ record-breaking staff that was the first to strike out (SO) more than 1100 / season, and more than 7 / 9 innings. At http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2011/12/11/50-baseball-players-hall-fame-version-2-0/ they were the top 2 pitchers ranked, coming in at positions # 19 and 26.
It must be acknowledged they weren’t teammates very long. In fact, they traded roster spots July 17, 1964, when TJ was sent down to Portland after giving up a 7-run lead in the 1st inning, allowing Kansas City to score 9 runs in the bottom of the 1st!. He was 2-7 after the loss, and sent down for the last time. Luis, who was 15-1 at Portland, was recalled to pitch the 2nd game of a July 19 Sunday doubleheader against Whitey Ford and the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The result? He shut out the Yankees 3-0 on 4 hits, with 4 BB, and 11 SO. It was my privilege to warm him up in Yankee Stadium before the game! TJ would be recalled at season’s end when rosters were expanded. He would be traded (with Tommy Agee) to Chicago in the off-season for Rocky Colavito in a 3-team swap.
TJ would go on to win 286 games in his career. Luis would win 229, and be the winningest Cuban pitcher of all time. They were coached by Hall of Famer Early Wynn. At Bill James Online, Bill James merely ranked Luis and TJ as among the top six, with no explicit numerical order given. I "Ask(ed) Bill" if their number of future victories might also represent some sort of record for 2 pitchers on the demotion/promotion cycle, but he did not respond. I guess it’s not an interesting enough factoid there, but certainly worthy of posting here!