Anthony Richard Conigliaro
(January 7, 1945 -
February 24, 1990), nicknamed "Tony C" and "Conig", was a Major League Baseball outfielder
and right-handed batter who played for
the Boston Red Sox
1969-1970, 1975) and California
(1971). He was born in Revere,
Massachusetts, and was a 1962 graduate of St. Mary's High School .
During the Red Sox "Impossible Dream"
season of 1967, he was hit by a pitch in the eye, causing a severe
injury and derailing his career. Though he would make a comeback
from the injury, his career was not the same afterwards.
In his 1964 rookie season, Conigliaro batted
.290 with 24 home
and 52 RBI
in 111 games, but
broke his arm and his toes in August. Tony
won American League
Rookie of the Year
In his sophomore season in 1965, Conigliaro led the league in home
runs (32).He was selected for the All-Star Game
In that season, at age 22, he became the youngest player to reach a
career total of 100 home runs.
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
. He sustained a linear fracture
of the left cheekbone and a dislocated jaw with 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
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. He is the 2nd youngest player to hit his 100th
homer (after Mel Ott in 1931).
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
lapsed into a coma. Conigliaro remained in basically a vegetative
state until his death more than 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
is given annually to the player who best overcomes an
obstacle and adversity through the attributes of spirit,
determination and courage that were trademarks of Conigliaro.
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. It was named
"Conigliaro's Corner" in honor of Tony Conigliaro. The seats are
being marketed specifically towards families. As of May 2007, the
section is reserved for Red Sox Nation members on Saturdays and Red
Sox Kid Nation members on Sundays. The seats were removed prior to
the start of the 2009 season.
However, this little section of seats, (since removed as mentioned
above), high above right field in foul territory was not the
original "Conig's Corner". Long time fans will recall that when
Tony first was making his comeback he complained about not being
able to see the ball well coming from the pitcher's hand because of
all of the brightly colored clothing being worn by fans directly
behind the pitcher in dead center field. To address Tony's problem
these seats was first blocked off and covered in black tarp to
provide a better hitter's background. This little triangular area
of seats directly adjacent to the centerfield TV camera nest was
the original Conig's Corner at Fenway Park. Note that these same
seats are still blocked off for day games (for the same reason),
but their association with Tony C appears to have been lost over
- Seeing It Through, Macmillan, 1970. (With Jack Zanger.)
- Time Magazine, 1969, Conig's Comeback
- Tony Conigliaro Forty Years Later: A
Remembrance By Shaun L. Kelly
- "Return From The Dark", Sports
Illustrated, June 22, 1970