Red Sox outfielder Tony Conigliaro was hit in the head by a Jack Hamilton pitch Friday night, suffering a cracked cheekbone. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and then to Sancta Maria Hospital in Cambridge.
He’ll be sidelines for three weeks, perhaps longer, and will remain at the hospital 48 hours for observation.
When Conigliaro dropped in the batter’s box after being hit in the fourth inning, he never stirred. The rush from the Red Sox dugout started with Mgr. Dick Williams in front.
Once it was seen that Tony wasn’t going to be able to get up, Jim Lonborg, Mike Ryan, Joe Foy and trainer Buddy Leroux grabbed the stretcher and carried the outfielder into the dressing room.
“When I got to him,” said the team physician, Dr. Thomas Tierney, he said: “It hurts like hell. I heard a hissing sound and that was all.”
According to Dr. Tierney, Tony’s left eye was closed from the blow, and he was rushed to the hospital and examined there by Dr. Joseph Dorsey, a neuro-surgeon.
The dry plates showed the cheekbone condition and a scalp contusion, and it was then that it was felt that Tony would be lost for at least three weeks.
It is quite possible he will be out longer.
Williams didn’t think that Hamilton was aiming at Tony, certainly, but Carl Yastrzemski was bitter.
“All I know is that the kid had a cracked head,” he said, and when Carl heard that Hamilton had said something about him not being able to get a hit off him, Carl said something unprintable.
“I’ve not hit anyone all year,” said Hamilton. “I certainly wasn’t throwing. I was just trying to get the ball over. Tony stands right on top of the plate.
Catcher Bob Rodgers of the Angels said, “The pitch was about eight inches inside the plate and took off when it got near Tony. It was a fast ball and just sailed.”
Mgr. Bill Rigney of the Angels called the Red Sox room and talked to Williams. “Mr. Yawkey and I were talking before the game,” said Rigney, “and he said it would be a great race if nobody got hurt. Then this had to happen.”
It was the fifth time in Conigliaro’s Major League career that he has been hurt by pitched balls.
The most recent was during Spring training this year when a John Wyatt fastball sailed during batting practice and Tony would up being flown back to Boston for treatment of a shoulder separation.
During his rookie season he suffered a hairline fracture of his left wrist after being struck by a Moe Drabowski pitch on May 6.
A month after he got back into the lineup, Tony departed for six weeks when a Pedro Ramos pitch broke his right forearm.
In 1965 Wes Stock of the Kansas City A’s put Conig out of the lineup for 12 days with a broken left hand.