Friday, April 24, 2009

#55 Tony Conigliaro

#55 Tony Conigliaro
Hey, it's Tony C! What a great card. The deep red piping on the classic Red Sox jersey, Tony's intense thousand-yard stare, and of course the majestic All-Star Rookie trophy. The background is even a reasonable facsimile of the Green Monster. Of course, it's probably not the real thing; there's no Citgo sign visible. But the best part of this card may be the use of the phrase "great-guns" on the back.

Fun facts about Tony Conigliaro:

-The Red Sox signed young Tony (from nearby Revere, MA) when he was only seventeen, in 1962.

-Made his major league debut in 1964, hitting a home run in his first at-bat against Joe Horlen of the White Sox.

-Hit .290 with 24 homers that year, but missed time with a broken arm and broken toes.

-Bucked the sophomore jinx by leading the American League with 32 roundtrippers.

-In 1967, made his only All-Star team and became the youngest player to reach 100 career home runs.

-On August 18, 1967, he was hitting .287 with 20 home runs and 67 RBI when he faced Jack Hamilton of the Angels. Tony failed to duck out of the way of an inside pitch, and was hit in the cheekbone. The fastball shattered his left cheekbone and severely damaged his left retina, and shelved him for the rest of the year and all of the next season.

-Made a remarkable return in 1969, hitting 20 HR and 82 RBI to win Comeback Player of the Year honors.

-Teamed with brother Billy to form two-thirds of the Red Sox outfield in 1970, and also reached career highs with 36 longballs and 116 ribbies.

-His eyesight never fully bounced back, and after a rough half-season with the Angels in 1971, his career was essentially through at age 26. He attempted a comeback with the BoSox in 1975, but it lasted only 21 games.

-The tragedy didn't end with Tony's retirement. In 1982, the 37-year-old suffered a massive heart attack and soon lapsed into a coma. He remained in poor health until his death eight years later from kidney failure and pneumonia.
#55 Tony Conigliaro (back)


  1. The Citgo sign was erected in 1965, so it seems most unlikely that it would be in the 1965 Topps set. I used to live down the street from and then in kenmore square, so I have a ton of useless knowledge of the area.

    The Tony C card is the one crappy '65 Topps card I have that I didn't send you. Heck, I even sent my Willie Mays, but not Tony C. All my grandmother ever spoke about when we talked about baseball (which was often) is how tragic Tony C was and how great he would have been. It was drilled into my head from a very early age, so Yaz and Tony C are very close to my heart. Tony C and Harry grandma had a thing for tragedy.

    I am glad someone got this card into your hands, because it is one of my 5 favorite cards of all time (#1? probably this one:")

    -Tony C also set the record for most home runs by a teenager in a season:

    1. Tony Conigliaro, Boston 24
    2. Mel Ott, New York 19
    3. Ken Griffey, Jr., Seattle 16
    4. Phil Cavarretta, Chicago 14
    5. Mickey Mantle, New York 13
    6. Ed Kranepool, New York 12
    7. Robin Yount, Milwaukee 11
    8. Harmon Killebrew, Washington 8
    9. Cesar Cedeno, Houston 7
    10. Jimmy Sheckard, Brooklyn 7

  2. Max, thanks for the clarification for the Citgo sign! The Zernial card is definitely a great one. The only card I have from the 1952 set is Bill "Swish" Nicholson of the Phillies. It's got tons of sentimental value, because he was the best baseball player to ever come out of my alma mater, Washington College (and the last - the other two were turn-of-the-20th century guys). It's even cooler because his bio on the back mentions Washington College.

    I saw the stat about him having the most home runs as a teenager, but it was sloppily worded on Wikipedia to make it seem like he had the most total HR as a teen. So I looked up A-Rod, saw that he had a few more overall, and dropped it. Thanks for clearing it up!

  3. Jack Hamilotn didn't pitch for the Tigers,as this article says, he pitched for the Angels

  4. Anon. - Thanks for the sharp eye! Jack Hamilton's 1965 Topps card is with the Tigers, which must have thrown me.