Tony Conigliaro, or “Tony C” as he was often referred to by Red Sox fans, realized the dream of playing for his hometown team when the East Boston native signed with the club in September of 1962. After just one sensational year in the minors, Conigliaro joined his hometown team and lofted the first pitch he saw at Fenway Park over the left field wall and onto Lansdowne Street, instantly creating a local legend. Conigliaro continued to prove his worth over his first few seasons; although his batting average was never higher than .290, which he hit in his rookie season, the tall, lanky outfielder stroked 24 home runs in his first season and 84 through his first three seasons, winning the home run crown in 1965 with 32 long balls.
When he became the youngest player to reach 100 home runs in 1967, fans thought Conigliaro would be the catalyst to lead the club to a pennant. Tragically, an errant pitch struck him just below his left eye in August of 1967 and he missed not only the end of the “Impossible Dream” season but the entire 1968 campaign as well. He would return in 1969, earning Comeback Player of the Year honors, and have the best season of his brief career in 1970, hitting career-highs of 36 home runs and 116 RBI. Lingering problems with his eyesight brought his star-crossed career to a near-end in 1971.
Though he would make an abbreviated return in 1975, playing in 21 games with the Red Sox, it was clear that his days as a player were over. Sadly, seven years later, he suffered a massive heart attack that left him severely incapacitated and, in 1990, he died at just 45 years of age.