Remembering Tony Coniglario
This Day In Baseball History February 24th
Tony Conigliaro was a professional baseball player who played in the Major Leagues from 1964 to 1975. Despite a promising career that included a Rookie of the Year award and an All-Star Game appearance, Conigliaro's life was cut short by a tragic injury that ended his playing career.
Born on January 7, 1945, in Revere, Massachusetts, Conigliaro grew up playing baseball with his brothers in a local sandlot league. He was scouted by the Boston Red Sox as a teenager and signed with the team in 1962, making his Major League debut in 1964 at the age of 19.
In his rookie season, Conigliaro had an impressive .290 batting average and hit 24 home runs, earning him the American League Rookie of the Year award. He continued to be a standout player for the Red Sox over the next few years, hitting a career-high 32 home runs in 1965 and making his first All-Star Game appearance in 1967.
However, Conigliaro's career was derailed in 1967 when he was hit in the face by a pitch from Jack Hamilton of the California Angels. The pitch that hit Tony Conigliaro in the face was a fastball thrown by Jack Hamilton of the California Angels on August 18, 1967. The incident occurred in the fourth inning of a game between the Red Sox and the Angels at Fenway Park in Boston.
Conigliaro, who was batting in the leadoff spot, was struck on the left side of his face by the pitch. He immediately collapsed to the ground and was unconscious for several minutes. He was eventually taken off the field on a stretcher and transported to a local hospital.
The injury was severe, with Conigliaro suffering a broken cheekbone, a dislocated jaw, and damage to his left eye. He underwent multiple surgeries and missed the rest of the 1967 season and much of the 1968 season while he recovered.
Despite the setback, Conigliaro returned to the Red Sox in 1969 and had a strong season, hitting 20 home runs and helping the team win the American League East division. However, he was never quite the same player after the injury, and his career was cut short by vision problems and recurring injuries.
Conigliaro retired from baseball in 1975 at the age of 30. He went on to work as a sportscaster and a baseball analyst for local Boston television stations, but he never fully recovered from the injury that ended his playing career.
In 1982, Conigliaro suffered a heart attack and went into a coma, which he never fully recovered from. He passed away on February 24, 1990, at the age of 45.
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