Tony Conigliaro had everything to become an all-time great Major League Baseball player.
He was a local kid from Revere, Massachusetts with natural talented, confident, fearless. Actually, cocky was more accurate.
Conigliaro, known as Tony C. for short, wasted no time becoming an impact player for the Boston Red Sox in 1964. He reached the majors by age 19, and by 20 Conigliaro led the American League in home runs.
If he kept this pace, Anthony Richard Conigliaro’s name would go down in Red Sox history alongside Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and Johnny Pesky. No. 25 would had been retired, never to be worn again. Maybe even a part of Fenway Park would be named after Tony C. Anything would have been possible.
One pitch changed everything.
Anaheim Angles pitcher Jack Hamilton was known for throwing inside. Conigliaro never backed down and challenged pitchers by crowding the plate. Conigliaro had been hit before, but never like this.
Hamilton’s first pitch by got away from him and hit Conigliaro on the left side of his face, just below the eye socket. The impact shattered Conigliaro’s cheek bone. Doctors said if the ball was an inch higher and to the right, it could have killed him.
Conigliaro resumed his career two years later. He even hit a career high 36 homeruns in 1970. But deteriorating vision forced him out of the game two and a half seasons after he came back.
This is the story that Bruce Fitzpatrick is re-telling.
Fitzpatrick has written 19 screenplays, more than a dozen books and three television series on a variety of subjects. His latest work is “The Tony Conigliaro Story,” and Fitzpatrick is giving Tony C. new life.
What’s unique is Fitzpatrick wrote a book and a screenplay based on the former Red Sox prodigy. Fitzpatrick presents Conigliaro’s life in a new perspective. Listen to what Fitzpatrick has to say about Conigliaro and his latest work.
Randolph Charlotin is a Contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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