The 1969 Comeback Player of the Year!

When Jack Hamilton’s pitch struck the left cheek of Tony Conigliaro’s face, it left a linear fracture of his cheekbone, dislocated his jaw and caused severe damage to his left retina. It was sometime during the 1968 season that it was revealed that the retina damage created a blind spot in Conig’s eye and it appeared to be permanent.

Not about to give up, he launched a comeback as a pitcher. And it was during that time that something miraculous occurred!

While taking batting practice one day he discovered that he could actually see, and see clearly. And he began stroking the ball. The doctors confirmed the “blind spot” had in fact dissipated and Tony C began working his way back! On  April 8, 1969 he was batting fifth and playing right field when the Red Sox opened the season at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. He had struck out, walked and singled when he stepped to the plate in the top of the 10th inning in a 2-2 tie.

And with Ken Harrelson on first base, he launched a home run to left field.

And put the Red Sox ahead 4-2! But he was not done. The Orioles tied the game in the bottom of the inning and Conig walked to lead off the 12th ultimately scoring the winning run in a 5-4 Red Sox win.

Six days later, the Orioles traveled to Fenway Park for the Red Sox home opener. There were 33,899 members of the Fenway Faithful who welcomed Tony C. back to the place he loved, to the game he loved. He did not disappoint them going 1-4 and knocking in what proved to be the winning run.

In 1969, his batting average slipped to .255 however he did show some of that pop was still present hitting 20 home runs and knocking in 82 runs.

 And he could still run the ball down in right field.

The Sporting News named him the “Comeback Player of the Year”. Tony C. was back! The best and the worst was yet to come.

to be continued…..

         And so it was on this time in Fenway Park history, the season of 1969. 

 

 

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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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