The 1970 season dawned with much promise and a few changes. The Red Sox outfield of Yaz, Reggie Smith and Tony C. once the best young outfield in the game, would see a change.
New Red Sox manager Eddie Kasko began playing gold glove left-fielder Carl Yastrzemski at first base which paved the way for Tony’s younger brother Billy to make an impact as a rookie left-fielder
Billy and Tony C.
You can imagine the excitement in the Conigliaro household with two brothers playing for the home town team. Billy performed admirably, playing the bulk of his games in left field. He saw action in center and right as well; while Tony had the best year of his career.
He had his career highs in home runs and RBI hitting 36 dingers and leading the team with 116 RBI, good enough for second in the American League. Yet things were not quite as they seemed. Tony was still struggling to see the baseball. Later he would say that he couldn’t pick up the spin of the ball until it was almost upon him. When you think about that it adds to the accomplishments of his 1970 season. As a result of the constant strain of simply following the baseball, he was plagued by head aches throughout the year. A fact he kept from anyone and everyone.
Perhaps sensing things were not quite right or simply capitalizing on Conig’s best year, the Red Sox shocked the baseball world when they traded Tony C. to the California Angels during the 1970 World Series. Conigliaro was stunned and the fans were outraged. However, for Red Sox General Manager Dick O’Connell it proved an adroit baseball move.
As hard as it was to believe, Tony Conigliaro was bound for Southern California to wear the uniform of the Angels!
to be continued…..
And so it was on this day in Fenway Park history, October 11, 1970.