Date of birth: 7 January 1945
Primary position: Right Fielder
Elected to Red Sox Hall of Fame: 1995
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.
Career Batting Statistics through 2017 Season
Awards and Recognition with Boston
Home Run Champion, 1965
Hutch Award, 1970
Memorable Moments for Tony Conigliaro
- 17 April 1964 - In his first at-bat at Fenway Park, 19-year-old Tony Conigliaro hits a home run over the left field wall onto Lansdowne Street as Boston cruises to a 4-1 win over Chicago.
- 3 June 1964 - Tony Conigliaro becomes the youngest player ever to hit a grand slam but the Red Sox lose the second game of a doubleheader 9-8 to the Angels in Los Angeles.
- 26 July 1964 - Outfielder Tony Conigliaro suffers a broken arm but the Red Sox still manage to best the Indians 6-1 at Cleveland.
- 27 July 1965 - Playing both ends of a doubleheader at Fenway Park, Tony Conigliaro hits three home runs, with two in the first game and a grand slam in the second one, but Boston loses both games to Kansas City by scores of 7-3 and 10-8, respectively.
- 28 July 1965 - An errant pitch strikes right fielder Tony Conigliaro in the wrist during Boston's 6-0 win and forces the young slugger to miss 24 games.
- 16 April 1967 - Outfielders Carl Yastrzemski and Tony Conigliaro collect five apiece, but Boston loses 7-6 in 18 innings versus New York and Yankees Stadium.
- 23 July 1967 - Red Sox right fielder Tony Conigliaro hits home runs in both ends of a twin bill in Cleveland. The twin blasts give him 101 for his career, which makes him the second youngest player to reach that mark behind only Mel Ott.
- 18 August 1967 - Tony Conigliaro gets beaned by a pitch from Jack Hamilton of the Angels at Fenway Park, which knocks him out of baseball for the next year-plus.
- 8 April 1969 - Tony Conigliaro suits up for regular season action for the first time since getting beaned in August of 1967. He belts a dramatic two-run home run in the 10th, then scores the winning run in the 12th as the Red Sox open the season with a 5-4 win over the Orioles in Baltimore.
- 19 September 1970 - Brothers Tony and Billy Conigliaro each homer in an 11-3 Red Sox win in the second game of a doubleheader against the Senators at Fenway Park.
- 11 October 1970 - Red Sox fan-favorite Tony Conigliaro is shipped to Angels in a six-player swap with California. His time with the Angels is short as he retires in mid-July the following season.
- 8 April 1975 - Back in a baseball uniform for the first time in nearly four years, Tony Conigliaro gets a warm welcome from the Fenway faithful and goes 1-for-4 as the DH in Boston's 5-2 Opening Day win versus Milwaukee. It also marks Hammerin' Hank Aaron's American League debut.
- 21 August 1975 - Tony Conigliaro's playing days come to an end as he retires from baseball for good.
- 9 January 1982 - Former Boston outfielder Tony Conigliaro suffers a massive heart attack while being driven to the airport by his brother, Billy. Conigliaro lapses into a coma and is not released from the hospital until early March.
- 24 January 1990 - Tony Conigliaro dies of pneumonia and kidney failure at the age of 45. The former Red Sox fan favorite and Revere, MA native hit 32 home runs in 1965 at the age of 20 to become the youngest player in American League history to win the home run crown.
- 23 July 2007 - Nearly one year after being diagnosed with lymphoma, Jon Lester returns to the mound in Cleveland and goes six full innings to earn the win in his first start since the previous August. After the season, in recognition of his recovery, the southpaw is honored with the 2007 Tony Conigliaro Award.