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25-Oct-2007
Series notes: Luis Tiants cigar legacy

BOSTON — Cigars have long been associated with victory celebrations in Boston, where former Celtics coach Red Auerbach used to light up when a win was secure.
Luis Tiant would like to see the same tradition become a regular part of Red Sox baseball.

Tiant, who had three 20-win seasons in eight years with the Red Sox in the 1970s, handed out dozens of El Tiante cigars during Boston's clubhouse celebration following Sunday's 11-2 pennant-clinching victory against the Cleveland Indians.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon, dancing with a stogie in his mouth on the field afterward, was among the most prominent players to enjoy the freebie.

The cigars – made in Nicaragua and sold for $6-8 individually and $125-170 per box – are marketed with a logo depicting Tiant in his windup. The Cuban-born right-hander, known to enjoy his homeland's most famous export during his playing days, contributes his name, marketing capabilities and knowledge as a smoker, but the company is actually run by his son, Daniel.

I hope they can celebrate a World Series win with our cigars too," Daniel said of the Red Sox.

The elder Tiant, 66, may get a chance to enjoy a freshly made Cuban cigar next month. Tiant said he hopes to join an ESPN production crew on a trip to Cuba to film scenes for a documentary on his life. He hasn't returned to the Communist island since leaving 46 years ago.

"I'd like to see my home country again before I die," Tiant said. "I'm not sure if it'll happen, but if I go, I can die happy."


Source: USA Today