- Category : Sports-Baseball
- Type : GE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (27,32,34,36,38,58)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 4
American athlete, pro baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, outfielder and right handed batter who suffered multiple injuries that cut short an illustrious career.
He graduated St. Mary's High School in Lynn, MA in 1962. In his 1964 rookie season with the Boston Red Sox, Conigliaro batted .2900 with 24 home runs and 52 runs batted in (RBIs in 111 games. In spite of major injuries, Conigliaro continued to play. On July 26, 1964, Conigliaro suffered a broken arm in a 6-1 Boston win.
Conigliaro led the American League in home runs (32) in his sophomore year and was selected for the 1967 All Star game. He suffered a broken left wrist when hit by a pitched ball on July 28, 1965.
At age 22, Conigliaro became the youngest player to reach 100 home runs on July 23, 1967. The previous holder of that record was Mel Ott at age 22 on July 12, 1931.
A major tragedy took place on August 18, 1967 when Conigliaro was beaned by the Angels' Jack Hamilton. The ball hit Conigliaro’s left cheekbone just below the eye and caused severe damage to the left retina. The batting helmet he was wearing did not have the protective earflap that has since become standard. He was hitting .267 at the time with 20 HRs and 67 RBIs in 95 games. Conigliaro missed the balance of the 1967 season. Although he returned to the lineup on April 2, 1968, vision problems canceled out the balance of the 1968 season.
He returned to the team on April 8, 1969, hitting two home runs to help the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles in 12 innings at Baltimore. In a game against Seattle on July 25, 1969 he wrenched his back while hitting a home run and was forced to walk slowly around the bases before being replaced. Despite the injury, Conigliaro hit 20 home runs that season with 82 RBIs in 141 games earning him the Comeback Player of the Year Award. The following year, 1970, he reached career high records in home runs (36) and RBIs (116).
With worsening eyesight, his performance worsened as well. At the end of the 1970 season, October 11, Conigliaro was traded to the California Angels in exchange for second baseman Doug Griffin. He retired in 1971, coming back briefly in 1975. On July 11, 1975 after a poor showing on the diamond, Conigliaro called a 5 AM press conference to announce his retirement. Tests showed that the sight in his left eye, injured in 1967, had deteriorated even more.
In an attempt to make a comeback, Conigliaro signed a contract in March 5, 1975 with Pawtucket in the International League. He briefly appeared again with the Boston Red Sox on April 8, 1975, but is forced to retire because damage to the eyes has become permanent. On January 3, 1982, while being driven to interview for a broadcasting position, he suffered a heart attack in the car driven by his brother Billy. Conigliaro lapsed into a coma, remaining hospitalized until Mar 3, 1982 and requiring care for the rest of his short life. On February 24, 1990, Conigliaro died of pneumonia and kidney failure at the age of 45.
The Tony Conigliaro Award is given annually in baseball to the player who best overcomes an obstacle and continues to thrive through the adversity. Conigliaro's High School, St Mary's in Lynn MA, recently renovated the campus and named the new gymnasium the Tony Conigliaro Gymnasium. Fenway Park, Boston, features a new bleachers section called Conigliaro's Corner in his honor.
He is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden MA.