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Tony Conigliaro

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Anthony Richard Conigliaro (January 7, 1945 - February 24, 1990), nicknamed "Tony C" and "Conig",[1][2] was a Major League Baseball outfielder and right-handed batter who played for the Boston Red Sox (1964-67, 1969-1970, 1975) and California Angels (1971). He was born in Revere, Massachusetts, and was a 1962 graduate of St. Mary's High School (Lynn, Massachusetts).

Baseball careerEdit

In his 1964 rookie season, Conigliaro batted .290 with 24 home runs and 52 RBI in 111 games, but broke his arm and his toes in August. Tony Oliva won American League Rookie of the Year honors.

In his sophomore season in 1965, Conigliaro led the league in home runs (32). He was selected for the All-Star Game in 1967. In that season, at age 22, he became the youngest player to reach a career total of 100 home runs.[3]

On August 18, 1967, the Red Sox were playing the California Angels at Fenway Park. Conigliaro, batting against Jack Hamilton, was hit by a pitch on his left cheekbone, and was carried off the field on a stretcher. He sustained a broken cheekbone and severe damage to his left retina. The batting helmet he was wearing did not have the protective ear-flap that has since become standard.

A year and a half later, Conigliaro made a remarkable return, hitting 20 homers with 82 RBI in 141 games, earning Comeback Player of the Year honors. In 1970, he reached career-high numbers in HRs (36) and RBI (116). That season he and his brother Billy formed two-thirds of the Red Sox outfield. After a stint with the Angels in 1971, he returned to the Red Sox briefly in 1975, but was forced to retire because his eyesight had been permanently damaged.

Conigliaro batted .267, with 162 home runs and 501 RBI during his 802-game Red Sox career. With the Angels, he hit .222, 4, 15, in 74 games. He holds the MLB record for most home runs (25) hit by a teenaged player.

Final yearsEdit

On January 3, 1982 Conigliaro, in Boston to interview for a broadcasting position, suffered a heart attack while being driven to the airport by his brother Billy. Shortly thereafter, he suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma. Conigliaro remained partially paralized and was basically in a vegetative state until his death 8 years later. He lived these final years at his parents' home in Nahant, Massachusetts. In February, 1990 he died in Salem, Massachusetts at the age of 45. In commemoration, the Red Sox wore black armbands that season.

Currently, the Tony Conigliaro Award is given annually to the player who best overcomes an obstacle and continues to thrive through.

Conigliaro was the 2nd youngest player to hit his 100th major league home run. Only Mel Ott (in 1931) was younger.

Conigliaro's CornerEdit

For the start of the 2007 season, Red Sox ownership added a new 200-seat bleacher section on the right field roof, providing an additional 16,000 available tickets for the season.[4] It was named "Conigliaro's Corner" in honor of Tony Conigliaro. The seats are being marketed specifically towards families.[4] As of May 2007, the section is reserved for Red Sox Nation members on Saturdays and Red Sox Kid Nation members on Sundays.[4]

BibliographyEdit

  • Seeing It Through, Macmillan, 1970. (With Jack Zanger.)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Harmon Killebrew
American League Home Run Champion
1965
Succeeded by:
Frank Robinson
Preceded by:
Ken Harrelson
AL Comeback Player of the Year
1969
Succeeded by:
Clyde Wright

Template:AL Comeback Players of the Year Template:Hutch Award

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