“Gino Cannoli, his real name is Gino Cannoli. You didn’t know that? He’s really Italian!” Robert A MacCormack to a little boy at Fenway Park, Memorial Day 1961

On December 15, 1960 the Red Sox announced that they had made a trade; Frank Sullivan was on his way to Philly and Gene Conley was heading to Fenway Park to ply his trade. On paper it looked like a wash, Sullivan was a 6’6″ 225 lb right-hander and Conley was a 6’8″ 225 lb right-hander. Both men were 30 years old, both had been all-stars and both appeared to have their best years behind them.

Although Sullivan had a better record at the time of the trade, Conley carried a resume which was a bit more impressive. He had finished third in the Rookie of the Year balloting in 1954, after going 14-9 with a 2.96 ERA with the Braves. He was the winning pitcher in the 1955 All Star game and he was a World Champion! In fact he was a three-time World Champion! He won one championship with the Braves.

Gene Conley was the fourth starter in the 1957 Milwaukee Braves rotation behind Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette and Bob Buhl. The 1957 Braves beat the Yankees in seven games to win the World Series!

And he won two championships with the Boston Celtics.

That’s him with the big smile behind Red Auerbach.

Conley was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1952, The Celtics were just beginning to emerge as an NBA power as Conley joined Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman wearing the green and white.

He was part of the first three consecutive NBA championship in the Boston Celtics run of eight consecutive NBA crowns (1959-1966).

In 1952 he also made his major league pitching debut with the Boston Braves and after playing both in the major leagues and the NBA that season, he decided to forgo basketball and focus on pitching.  He resumed his NBA career in the fall of 1958 as the Boston Celtics began a march that was and remains unprecedented in the history of American sports, eight consecutive World Championships!

Donald Eugene Conley holds a unique position in American sports history. He is the only man who has won a World Championship in both baseball and basketball. He has counted among his teammates hall of famers, Warren Spahn, Eddie Matthews, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinson and Sam Jones. He literally has “backed up” the greatest left-handed pitcher in baseball history (Warren Spahn) and the greatest winner in the history of sports (11 rings) Celtics center Bill Russell.

Conley chats with Red Sox pitching coach Sal Maglie before a start in April 1961.

He truly is one of a kind!


        And so it was on this day in Fenway Park history, December 15, 1960.

About fenwaypark100

Hello and welcome, my name is Raymond Sinibaldi. An educator for more than two decades, a baseball fan for nearly 60 years, I have authored four books about baseball and her glorious history; with a fifth on the way in late spring of 2015; the first, The Babe in Red Stockings which was co-authored with Kerry Keene and David Hickey. It is a chronicle of Babe's days with the Red Sox. We also penned a screenplay about Babe's Red Sox days so if any of you are Hollywood inclined or would like to represent us in forwarding that effort feel free to contact me through my email. In 2012 we three amigos published Images of Fenway Park in honor of the 100th birthday of Fenway Park. That led to the creation of this blog. The following year, 2013 came my first solo venture, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota. This is a pictorial history of spring training in those two Florida cities. The spring of 2014 brought forth the 1967 Red Sox, The Impossible Dream Season. The title speaks for itself and it also is a pictorial history. Many of the photos in this book were never published before. The spring of 2015 will bring 1975 Red Sox, American League Champions. Another pictorial effort, this will be about the Red Sox championship season of 1975 and the World Series that restored baseball in America. I was fortunate enough to consult with sculptor Franc Talarico on the “Jimmy Fund” statue of Ted Williams which stands outside both Fenway Park and Jet Blue Park Fenway South, in Fort Myers Florida. That story is contained in the near 300 posts which are contained herein. This blog has been dormant for awhile but 2015 will bring it back to life so jump on board, pass the word and feel free to contact me about anything you read or ideas you may have for a topic. Thanks for stopping by, poke around and enjoy. Autographed copies of all my books are available here, simply click on Raymond Sinibaldi and email me.
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