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Tony Conigliaro, the Red Sox’ would-be legend
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On Aug. 18, 1967, Red Sox outfielder and local baseball hero Tony Conigliaro was hit in the head by a pitch. Boston area native “Tony C” was having a terrific start to a career in the major leagues. In his three years with the Sox, he was the youngest player to reach 100 career home runs, and had been a big part of the team’s success in ’67, putting them in the heat of the pennant race. They were playing the Angels, who were half a game behind the Sox, when the horrible silence hit Fenway Park. In the fourth inning, pitcher Jack Hamilton threw a pitch that struck Conigliaro’s cheekbone and caused him to lay motionless at home plate. He made a comeback in 1969, but the injury prevented him from becoming the baseball legend that Sox fans dreamed he would be. -
Leanne Burden Seidel and Lisa Tuite
Aug. 7, 1967: Eleven days before before the beaning that would alter his career, Tony Conigliaro relaxed with Red Sox power hitters George Scott and Carl Yastrzemski before their game with the Kansas City Athletics. While the Red Sox lost 5-3, Yaz had 2 hits, Scott had 1, and Conigliaro went 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs.
Charles Carey/Globe staff
Aug. 18, 1967: Boston Red Sox player Tony Conigliaro was surrounded by teammates after being hit on the head by a fourth-inning fastball from Jack Hamilton of the California Angels. When Conigliaro dropped in the batter's box after being hit, he never stirred. The rush from the Red Sox dugout started with manager Dick Williams.
Aug. 18, 1967: Conigliaro was carried off the Fenway Park field by teammates Mike Ryan and Jim Lonborg, trainer Buddy LeRoux, and Angels' trainer Fred Federico. "When I got to him," said team physician Dr. Thomas Tierney, "He said, 'It hurts like hell. I heard a hissing sound and that was all.’ "
August 1967: A glum Tony Conigliaro was in his hospital bed at Sancta Maria Hospital in Cambridge while being treated for a cracked cheekbone, dislocated jaw, and damaged retina. This was the fifth time in Tony' Cs major league career that he has been hurt by pitched balls. He suffered a separated shoulder during spring training when a John Wyatt fastball sailed during batting practice. During his rookie season, he suffered a hairline fracture of the left wrist after being hit by a Moe Drabowski pitch. A month later, he was out for six weeks when a Pedro Ramos pitch broke his right forearm. And in 1965, Wes Stock of the Kansas City A's put Tony out of the lineup for 12 days with a broken hand. The injury from the Jack Hamilton pitch would prove to be the most serious of all.
H.T. Holbrook/Globe Staff
Aug. 24, 1967: Conigliaro was escorted from Sancta Maria Hospital in Cambridge by Sister Mary Leonard (left) and was driven to his Swampscott home by his father, Sal. The young Sox slugger completely absolved Angels pitcher Jack Hamilton, whose fastball hit Tony flush in the face and fractured his cheekbone. "It was an inside fastball and sailed into me - I had no chance of getting out of the way."
Aug. 30, 1967: Conigliaro squinted in the sun as he took some "batting" practice at Grossinger's Resort in New York with Clark Graebner, a member of the US Davis Cup tennis team. Conigliaro was on the disabled list as he recovered. While he said he had no pains or dizzy spells, he said the "blur stays with me."
Charles Dixon/Globe staff
Sept. 7, 1967: Conigliaro was examined by Dr. I Francis Gregory at Sancta Maria Hospital three weeks after being hit by the pitch. Conigliaro registered 20/100 when the eye was tested, normal vision being 20/20. He suffered permanent damage in his retina that affected his vision. Tony C was batting .287 with 20 home runs when he suffered the fractured cheekbone on Aug. 18. Looking on is teammate Jose Santiago, a pitcher who was hit in the left eye by a stray ball during recent batting practice. He was cleared to pitch.