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Fenway
08-19-2006, 11:14 AM
39 years ago last night Tony Conigliaro took a Jack Hamilton pitch in his left eye and pretty much ended what could have been a Hall of Fame career. Who knows how many homers Tony C would have hit..500, 600...... I was there that night and Bob Ryan brought me back in this column like it was yesterday.

It was Friday, Aug. 18, 1967, and the town was alive because the Red Sox were in an honest-to-God, late-summer pennant race for the first time in 17 years. The fourth-place Red Sox (3 1/2 games back) were playing the fifth-place Angels (four back) in the first of four and it was baseball as baseball was meant to be until that awful moment in the bottom of the fourth with Tony Conigliaro batting against California righthander Jack Hamilton.
http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2006/08/18/unforgettable_moment_hit_home_39_years_ago/?page=1

But this sad story has a White Sox connection as well. A few days after the beaning Kansas City owner Charley Finley FIRED one of his players and created the first true free agent and Boston won the bidding. That player did little to help the 67 Red Sox but had a monster year in 1968 and then was traded to Cleveland early in the 1969 season because Yaz made it known to Tom Yawkey that he was becoming too popular. The player never matched his 1968 numbers and then decided he wanted to try the PGA tour while keeping his eye on his Boston nightclub and sub shops.

In 1975 he won an audition and became the outspoken colorman on the Red Sox telecasts and didn't mince words and became more popular than ever in Boston. After the 1981 season he was fired during the off season after calling then Red Sox GM Haywood Sullivan an idiot at the Baseball Writers dinner for losing Carlton Fisk on a mailing error. Eddie Einhorn hired him in a heartbeat and you can put that on the board.

Paulwny
08-19-2006, 11:47 AM
[quote=fenway]39 years ago last night Tony Conigliaro took a Jack Hamilton pitch in his left eye and pretty much ended what could have been a Hall of Fame career. Who knows how many homers Tony C would have hit..500, 600...... I was there that night and Bob Ryan brought me back in this column like it was yesterday.quote]


Fenway, maybe you know, any truth to this ?
I heard that when Conigliaro was attemting his comeback, while in the batter's box, his left eye lid would close when the pitch was being delivered.

Fenway
08-19-2006, 12:49 PM
Tony C batted with one eye for the rest of his career, he was blind in his left eye.

One last irony. The day he suffered his heart attack he had just been told he had gotten the job to replace Harrelson in the Red Sox TV booth and he and his brother were driving back to the airport when the attack happened. The whispers at the time were that cocaine was involved ( hey it was the early 80's ) .....

In the late 80's I worked on a free lance shoot for the Today show when they did a feature on Tony. I was not prepared for what I saw. Tony was a complete zombie. It isn't easy to shoot tape when you are crying like a baby.
:whiner: :whiner: :whiner: :whiner:


Fenway, maybe you know, any truth to this ?
I heard that when Conigliaro was attemting his comeback, while in the batter's box, his left eye lid would close when the pitch was being delivered.[/quote]

SoxandtheCityTee
08-19-2006, 01:26 PM
[Harrelson] did little to help the 67 Red Sox but had a monster year in 1968 and then was traded to Cleveland early in the 1969 season because Yaz made it known to Tom Yawkey that he was becoming too popular.

Really? I'm surprised because Hawk seems still to worship Yaz -- mentions him frequently on the air, and always in reverent tones. Hawk was famously unhappy about being traded to the Indians and you would think he would hold that against Yaz if Yaz was responsible for it.

Fenway
08-19-2006, 02:13 PM
Really? I'm surprised because Hawk seems still to worship Yaz -- mentions him frequently on the air, and always in reverent tones. Hawk was famously unhappy about being traded to the Indians and you would think he would hold that against Yaz if Yaz was responsible for it.

The Yawkey story came from Dick Williams and has never been refuted. In any event when Hawk became a broadcaster in 1975 he and Yaz became golfing pals on the road.

It is no secret that Yaz ran the late 60's Red Sox as he pleased and finally forced Yawkey to fire Dick Williams. Williams seemed to do ok at his next job in Oakland. :tongue:

WSox597
08-19-2006, 04:12 PM
the outspoken colorman on the Red Sox telecasts and didn't mince words and became more popular than ever in Boston.

Interesting, I didn't know this about him. I knew he played with the Bosox, but the short time didn't explain his obsession with the "Carmines". Now it makes sense, in a Hawk kind of way.

I remember the Tony C. story vividly, one of our nuns in grade school was a HUGE Boston fan and she was devastated when he was hurt. Another of our nuns was a Cleveland fan, and she was similarly stricken by Herb Score's accident way back when. She never stopped talking about it during the season, especially when the Sox beat Cleveland. :D:

Fenway
08-19-2006, 04:32 PM
Interesting, I didn't know this about him. I knew he played with the Bosox, but the short time didn't explain his obsession with the "Carmines". Now it makes sense, in a Hawk kind of way.



Hawk never would have left Boston if it hadn't been for his problems with Haywood Sullivan. I have been told Fisk played a major role in his coming to Chicago after Sullivan told WSBK to find somebody else.

Sullivan the following year fired a radio announcer that worked perfectly with Ken Coleman simply because he was too candid. Ever hear of Jon Miller?

Somewhere in my vault I have Hawk's TV call of Bucky Dent's HR and as Dent trots around the bases he sighs "how do you throw that softball to him":whiner:

viagracat
08-19-2006, 05:34 PM
I remember the Conigliaro incident. But I didn't know about the Harrelson connection until now. Thanks, Fenway.

I also didn't know Yaz was apparently such a prick. In those days you didn't hear about that kind of stuff too much. I don't think the media wanted to rock the boat too much regarding sports stars (or other VIPs) back then. That's one reason the book Ball Four by Jim Bouton created such a splash.

Jerome Holtzman co-authored a book about Chicago baseball a few years ago and as a longtime baseball insider; recounted stories about both teams that were just fascinating regarding personality conflicts, pecking orders, quirky behavior and so on.

slavko
08-19-2006, 11:43 PM
Hawk never would have left Boston if it hadn't been for his problems with Haywood Sullivan. I have been told Fisk played a major role in his coming to Chicago after Sullivan told WSBK to find somebody else.



And Hawk returned the favor by putting Fisk in left field. No good deed goes unpunished.