BOSTON -- Going back about three decades, the Red Sox used to call on Luis Tiant when they needed to win a big game. "El Tiante" is still affiliated with the club, and he will be counted on to provide some good luck during the First-Year Player Draft.
The Sox have tabbed Tiant to represent the club in Orlando at this year's Draft. Sitting alongside Tiant at the Red Sox's table will be Laz Gutierrez, an area scout for the team who patrols Southeast and Northeast Florida.
As for Tiant, he remains a fixture around the Red Sox. Annually, he serves as a special instructor during Spring Training. Tiant also has a Cuban restaurant on Yawkey Way where many spectators dine before games.
He remains one of the team's most enthusiastic ambassadors. Last year, former star right fielder Dwight Evans represented the Red Sox at the Draft.
In the 1970s, Tiant was a wildly popular member of the Red Sox. He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997 and many fans think that Tiant should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame for his excellent career, in which he went 229-172 with a 3.30 ERA.
Pitching for the Sox from 1971-78, Tiant went 122-81 with a 3.36 ERA and won 20 games in a season three times. In 1972, Tiant was the American League Comeback Player of the Year, going 15-6 with a 1.91 ERA. Nobody can forget his brilliance in the 1975 World Series, when Tiant went 2-0 in his three starts against the powerful Big Red Machine of Cincinnati.
MLB.com will carry every pick of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, which takes place June 5-6 at The Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla. Day 1 coverage on BaseballChannel.TV begins at 1 p.m. with a special ceremonial draft of former Negro Leaguers who will be on hand at The Milk House. The First-Year Player Draft follows at 2 p.m. ET with a simulcast of ESPN2's broadcast of the first round and compensation picks. The remaining rounds on Day 1 will be shown exclusively on BaseballChannel.TV, with live analysis on site from MLB.com Draft guru Jonathan Mayo and David Rawnsley of Perfect Game USA.
Several of the top amateur prospects are expected in attendance in Orlando for Day 1 of the Draft, and each of the 30 Major League clubs will be represented by front office executives and baseball luminaries. Fans are welcome to attend Day 1 of the Draft, and admission to The Milk House is free with seating limited to a first-come, first-served basis.
Day 2 will get under way at 11:30 a.m. ET and continue through Round 50, if necessary. Every pick on Day 2 can be heard live at MLB.com.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.