Forty-six years ago today, Red Sox homeboy and Hall-of-Fame sureshot Tony Conigliaro had his baseball career turned inside out.
From Bob Ryan’s terrific Boston Globe column today:
I was there. I was there, and I was pretty close, too.
I was there the night of Aug. 18, 1967, when a Jack Hamilton fastball hit Tony Conigliaro in the face. I was sitting in a box seat not far up the third base line from the screen. I went to 27 Red Sox games that summer, and I seldom had a better seat than I did on that Friday night, the start of a four-game series with the California Angels. I had intended to buy my standard bleacher seat, but a guy sold me a box seat for face value down at Kenmore Square, and so I was hobnobbing with the swells in the $3.50 section that night rather than my usual cronies in the dollar bleacher seats (No, kiddies, I’m not making those numbers up).
I saw a lot of Red Sox history made that summer, but there are some historical events you can do without, this one being quite near the top of the list.
Ryan says, “I have not yet been able to let an Aug. 18 go by without thinking of Tony Conigliaro and the night when his life changed irrevocably.” And it certainly did, although Tony C fought back as best he could. As Ryan notes:
Tony Conigliaro was enormously talented. Please remember, when he came back in 1969 after missing the final six weeks of the 1967 season and all of the 1968 season, he was fooling us all. He hit 20 homers and drove in 82 to become the logical winner of the Comeback Player of the Year Award, and he followed that up with 36-116 production in 1970. And then the Red Sox traded him! Don’t get me started on that one.
Just be glad he did get started on this one. It’s an excellent read.
(P.S. The Boston Herald had nothing on Tony C’s anniversary today. We’re guessing Joe Fitz tomorrow.)