The Tony C Page!
On this page, we present a tribute page to New England's own Tony Conigliaro (or "Tony C" as he was affectionately called). Tony Conigliaro was born on January 7, 1945 in Revere, Massachusetts.
He was the perfect example of the local kid who makes it big. And big Tony C was. At 6'-3" he packed a lot of punch. In his first at-bat at Fenway Park he belted a home run. He also led the American
League in HRs in only his second big league season. Tony C was having a monster year in 1967 ("The Impossible Dream" Red Sox Team) when he was severely beaned by a Jack Hamilton fastball. In
short, the injury and ensuing eye trouble he developed derailed his possible Hall of Fame career. Tony was the youngest player to attain 100 career home runs (since broken by a player on the Yankees I
won't mention on this page) and made a miraculous comeback despite missing the entire 1968 season. He had 2 more solid years but eye problems forced him out of baseball at the age of 25. Tony C
made another comeback in 1975 and blasted a home run on Opening Day for the Bosox, but it was not to be. He finished his career with 164 HRs and 516 RBIs in essentially 6 1/2 seasons. If you
figure his statistics over a 162 game schedule, Tony C would have averaged 31 HRs and 95 RBIs per season. Keep in mind this was in the pitching dominate 1960's. Tony C also pursued other
endeavors (see below) but sadly his life was a story of "what could have been." He suffered a stroke in 1983 and later a heart attack which caused his premature death at the age of 45. On this page we
present our tribute to Mr. Tony Conigliaro. Gone but not forgotten...
Topps baseball cards of Tony Conigliaro (Click on image to enlarge)
1964 #287 1965 #55 1966 #380 1965 Topps 1966 #218 1966 Topps 1967 #280 1968 #140
Rookie card Transfer Insert '65 AL RBI Ldrs Rub Off Insert
1969 #330 1970 #340 1971 #63 1971 #105 1971 Topps #142 1971 Topps
'70 AL RBI Ldrs (Last regular card) Coins Tattoos
Note: These are Tony Conigliaro's regular Topps cards. He was featured on some very rare Topps Banquet cards in the mid-60's and also the scarce 1967 Topps Red Sox Sticker test set. He also
appeared on Bazooka, O-Pee-Chee (Topps counterpart in Canada), Venezuela Topps, Globe Imports and maybe a couple other card issues. Some of these scarce cards are pictured below. But being
his career was so short there are not many cards of him out there. Not many at all.
Tony Conigliaro wrote a book after his ordeal, called "Seeing It Through." He was also featured in various magazines (see the issues above). After his beaning in 1967, which forced him to miss the
remainder of the season (including the World Series) Tony was on the DL for the entire 1968 season. He came back strong in 1969, hitting another Opening Day home run. He finished the season with
terrific numbers considering his eye injury- .255 with 20 HRs and 82 RBIs. The following year, 1970, he was even stronger. Tony batted .266 with 36 HRs and 116 RBIs. Sadly, this was to be his last
full season in the big leagues. Tony was traded to the California Angels on Oct. 11, 1970 along with Ken Tatum, Jarvis Tatum, and Doug Griffin for Ray Jarvis and Gerry Moses. With eyesight problems
reoccurring, Tony appeared in only 74 games for the Halos and batted just .222 with 4 HRs and 15 RBIs. Tony C attempted another comeback in 1975 but batted just .123 with 2 HRs (one on Opening
Day) and 9 RBIs. He appeared in only 21 games. Tony Conigliaro's last game was June 12, 1975. Today, MLB's Comeback Player of the Year Award is now called the "Tony Conigliaro Comeback
Player of the Year Award" in tribute to this courageous player. Click HERE for complete baseball statistics of Tony Conigliaro, courtesy of baseballreference.com.
Sports Illustrated cover featuring Tony C Sport Magazine 6/69 featuring Tony Conigliaro
Boston Globe 2/7/68 news clipping of Tony C performance (Courtesy of Cheryll Ann Parker)
The internet is pretty amazing. If you read the above news clipping of a Tony C singing performance, you will see the name of a young blonde singer named "Sheryll Ann." She opened this particular
show for Tony Conigliaro at a club called O'Dees in Boston on February 7, 1968. Well wouldn't you know Cheryll happened upon my Tony C page and she told me that she had sung with him. How
wonderful. So she has provided this for The Tony C Page. I am trying to get some more photos and stories from Cheryll and hope to be adding them soon! Cheryll is a cool chic and I bet Tony C dug
her (see pic below). Btw, while the above review is not the most favorable towards Tony C (and favorable towards Cheryll Ann!) it is still exciting to imagine what it was like to have been there. So
thanks so much Cheryll!
| Cheryll Ann Parker belting one out at O'Dees More Tony C & Cheryl Ann news clippings from 1968 (click on image for full size)
Just got this email from Cheryll. I thought it was great so I am just going to put it here and let her do the talking. Thanks Cheryll!
Hello Tim......I'm glad you got the email.......finally! I'll try to put the wonderful story of Tony and I together for you the best I can.....
In my early years growing up there wasn't one day that my grandmother, mother's side, wouldn't be playing the stereo, phonograph, they called it then.....If she were here today I can hear her saying it
too........She played the piano and had fun making up her own songs as well.....One song us grandchildren can't forget, "When the Moon comes over the Mountain"....LOL.....She was great; we all loved her
too much......Anyway, of course I had my vocals showing off to myself.......but my grandmother made me sing to the whole family, I mean everyone....."Cheryll has a nice voice let's get her singing....." Well
come to find out that people in the business liked what they heard....I got to sing in night clubs even though I was under age; my parents were always at my side.......Got to cut a couple of 45's, did some
touring with the Supremes, The Beach Boys, Dave Clark 5 etc......Really great days......One night I happened to go out to a club in downtown Boston with my girlfriends and body guard, my aunt
Maryann, and while I was sitting at the table someone asked me if Tony C. could talk to me......"Where?" I said......then he comes walking to me with a Big Smile and those Meatball Eyes......He asked if I
wanted to sing with him if he was to put a show together........That's how we started.......As far as him singing he was as good as another singer with personality.......We sounded good together......This went on
until he got an offer to be on radio in California to do sports out there......He also opened a health store.....As fate be it......The last trip back to Boston from CA is when he had his heart attack going back to
Logan Airport.........Poor Billy C. was driving him there.......My many wonderful memories of Tony are his humor when we got together......looking in his eyes when we sang together and eating pizza!!!
When he came out of his coma I got together with his Aunt Phyllis, Uncle Vinnie's wife.....Uncle Vinnie was Tony's mother's brother who got Tony starting playing as a child.....We were all from Revere,
Ma growing up.........I went to the hospital to see him when he came out of the coma and the reaction from my visit got things going again......I would go to his home in Nahant, MA. I did this till three
weeks before he passed......I did not go to his funeral because I couldn't bear to see him in the coffin.......I do go to his grave and it's hard for me to realize my buddy and side kick is no longer around......It
was hard enough for me to see him in a wheelchair and he used to cry to me and I'd do something funny to make him laugh......he knew what was going on around him he just couldn't speak very well........
The Red Sox hat... I all most forgot......when he was at my house one day after going over our songs, we were going back to his car, blue Corvette I must add.........he threw it at me thinking maybe she can't
catch it... WRONG!!!!! I did and still have it saved away......My Tony... may we sing again in Heaven with lots of cheers! Peace, Blessings Cheryll
"An Evening For Tony C." 45 rpm record & sleeve 1969 Tony Conigliaro Souvenir Pin
The following is an online news article about Tony Conigliaro and Jack Hamilton, the pitcher who accidentally hit Tony C. I copied and pasted this after I saw it online. I don't think Jack
Hamilton intentionally threw at Tony (the only person who would know that is Jack Hamilton). Back then there were some unspoken rules in baseball; one was if you are a pitcher, and you
want to be successful, you need to establish control of the plate. If a batter crowds the plate (like Tony C. did) a good pitcher will throw inside to "back you off the plate." Don Drysdale made
a living doing that (including setting a record for most hit batters and he is in Baseball's Hall Of Fame). In today's game, more pitchers are afraid to pitch inside- not because they are afraid
of hitting batters, but because they ARE afraid of the batter getting ticked off and charging the mound. It's a different game now.
"Accidental Villain" By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports
August 17, 2007
Back in Morning Sun, Iowa, they didn't teach baseball pitchers to aim for the corners of home plate. If you were born with the kind of arm that could put a dent in the barn, the kind that God loved to bestow on
country boys, the ethos was simple.
"I just went out and threw hard," Jack Hamilton says. "That's all I knew enough to do."
Imagine Hamilton's amazement when, in 1967, he started to control his pitches. As a rookie with Philadelphia five years earlier, Hamilton led the National League in walks and wild pitches, a 95-mph fastball his
wild horse. Of all the things to help Hamilton tame himself, learning the spitball – an illegal pitch in which he lubed up the horsehide with a sheen of phlegm, sending it tumbling like a dive bomber – somehow
did the job.
"I was throwing excellent," Hamilton says. "I was finally starting to get the ball over the plate."
Hamilton sits in his office in Branson, Mo., kitsch capital of the United States. A vacation in 1986 convinced him to pack up all his stuff in Burlington, Iowa, and retire there with his wife to open a restaurant. Little
did he know Branson would turn into a Midwest tourist trap and encourage visitors from so many places. New York, he says, and Los Angeles, and Dallas, and, yes, Boston.
When tour buses from the Northeast roll into Branson, Hamilton readies himself. The baseball memorabilia on the walls of the restaurant invites the first round of questions, and after a few, Hamilton's name
comes up, and when it does, he hears what he has heard now for 40 years.
"Are you the Jack Hamilton?"
The Jack Hamilton who hit Tony Conigliaro, they mean, though they wouldn't dare take Tony C's name in vain like that. He was a deity in Boston, where they will never forget the day, 40 years ago Saturday, when
Hamilton felled him with a fastball flush on the left side of his face. As Conigliaro writhed on the ground, blood spilling from his nose and mouth and ears, Hamilton walked toward the plate before his catcher,
Buck Rodgers, shooed him away to spare him from the carnage.
So standing in the middle of the field at Fenway Park, a fallen star before him, a stunned crowd around him, Hamilton turned introspective, the only safe place he knew. He had hit just one batter that season. He
wouldn't hit another after Conigliaro. And it all made him wonder the same thing that has haunted him for four decades.
How did it happen?
"No one," Hamilton says, "lets me forget it."
Every kid who grows up in Boston learns the story of Tony C, and for many it's their first taste of sadness and broken dreams. At first, it sounds like a fairy tale: the local boy, a product of St. Mary's High in Lynn,
starts his first game with the Red Sox as a 19-year-old and hits the first pitch he sees for a home run. He leads the American League in home runs the next season, smacks 100 homers quicker than anyone in
history, slays girls with his brown eyes the size of drink coasters, dates sexpot Mamie Van Doren, cruises the city in a Corvette, records a few songs and is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest
baseball players anyone saw.
And then Jack Hamilton shows up.
In the retelling, Hamilton was the Big Bad Wolf. By the fourth inning, the California Angels right-hander had allowed just one hit, a single in Conigliaro's first at-bat. Hamilton lorded over the mound, ominous
wisps of smoke curling in the outfield, remnants of the smoke bomb a fan lobbed onto the field two batters earlier. Conigliaro stepped in and leaned over the plate, the alpha dog marking his territory. Hamilton
had a reputation for coming inside with his pitches. Tony C spat on reputations.
The first pitch was a fastball, the pre-'67 kind. Hamilton lost it high and tight. Tony C hesitated. A 95-mph fastball arrives at the plate in around four-tenths of a second. When Tony C moved, his helmet, without an
earflap, rustled loose. The ball smashed into Conigliaro and thudded to the ground, its impact absorbed by his face.
"He didn't stagger at all," Hamilton says. "He went straight down."
The beaning fractured Conigliaro's cheekbone, dislocated his jaw and caused a cyst to form behind his left eye, which some teammates were afraid had fallen out of the socket. Conigliaro said he thought he
was going to die. He was rushed to the hospital. The Red Sox seethed in their dugout, big George Scott pointing his bat at Hamilton, poised to avenge his friend.
Conigliaro lived. He sported a shiner that looked like an abstract painting, blacks and purples mingling sickeningly. Conigliaro missed the rest of the season and all of 1968 with blurred vision. He entertained
the idea of pitching before his eyesight improved and allowed him to return April 8, 1969, the Red Sox's first game of the season.
In the 10th inning, Conigliaro hit a two-run home run, and he scored the winning run in the 12th. The next season, he hit a career-high 36 home runs, finished second in the AL with 116 RBIs and looked well on
his way to a baseball resurrection.
His eyes wouldn't cooperate. The Red Sox traded Conigliaro to the Angels after the 1970 season. He flamed out and left baseball. A 1975 comeback with Boston was aborted after 57 at-bats. By 30, Tony C was
Time chewed and Conigliaro passed it working as a sports broadcaster. Following an interview for a TV job calling Red Sox games Jan. 9, 1982, he suffered a massive heart attack on the way to the airport in his
brother Billy's car. Conigliaro's heart stopped for more than five minutes. He lay comatose for seven weeks. When he awoke, his family tried everything to salvage his life. They brought shamans, holistic healers,
acupuncturists. Nothing worked. Still struggling, Conigliaro died in 1990 of pneumonia and kidney failure. He was 45.
Major League Baseball honors a player every season with the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity. The Red Sox will mark the 40th anniversary of the beaning Saturday with a ceremony that
includes Conigliaro's family.
Boston's opponent: The Los Angeles Angels.
By now, Hamilton understands that for the rest of his life, he will be a villain to countless people he has never met. Billy Conigliaro still believes Hamilton played headhunter with his brother.
"I couldn't take a baseball and throw it at somebody's head on purpose," Hamilton says. "I don't have the guts.
"I really don't care what the public thinks about me. Accidents happen. If I thought about it all the time, it would bother me. I know in my heart, I didn't mean to throw it."
Sometimes, Hamilton wishes he could have said that to Conigliaro's face. The two never spoke. They faced each other April 11, 1969, Conigliaro's third game back, as well as April 20. He went 1 for 4 with a
A little more than a year later, Conigliaro's autobiography "Seeing It Through" was published.
"I know it was an accident," Conigliaro wrote, "but I honestly don't know if I have ever really forgiven him for it."
Ever since Boxcar Willie died, Hamilton hasn't been to a baseball game. Hamilton befriended the country singer, one of the first to build his own theater in Branson, and the two would make the four-hour drive to
St. Louis and take in a few Cardinals games a year.
"Just watching baseball is my hobby," Hamilton says. "Now I've got the Extra Innings package. I'll stay up for the West Coast games. I'll sit at home and watch until 12:30."
Hamilton's career ended two years after the pitch to Conigliaro. He blames it on injuries. Some say he was scared to pitch inside. Maybe it was both. Maybe it was neither.
Occasionally he'll go into his back yard and play catch with his son. Hamilton is 68 now. His wife, Janyce, runs the books at their restaurant. His son is a cook, his daughter a waiter. Hamilton schmoozes, chats
baseball with interested customers and tells them to order prime rib, the house specialty.
At the front of the restaurant, Hamilton hands out baseball cards of himself that highlight his career. Each talks about the grand slam he hit off Al Jackson in 1967, or the one-hit shutout he threw against the
Cardinals the year before, the only blemish a bunt single by pitcher Ray Sadecki. Nowhere does it mention Conigliaro.
Most people don't know any better. They're just glad to be in Branson, at Jack's Plaza View Restaurant, talking baseball with a former major leaguer. Hamilton has owned a few restaurants over the years in
Branson. He called one Pzazz, a name he stole from another establishment in Burlington because he found it so unique.
"I'll tell you something," Hamilton says. "When people see something they haven't seen before, they don't forget the name."
Rest In Peace Tony C...
1968 Topps #140 Tony Conigliaro Vault File Copy
| 1967 Topps Red Sox Stickers #3 1967 Topps Red Sox Stickers #30 Tony
Tony Conigliaro Conigliaro Is My Hero
In 1967, besides it's regular baseball set, Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. produced a very limited "test" issue of both Pirates and Red Sox stickers. Needless to say, these are very scarce today. The 1967
Topps Red Sox stickers featured of course, Yaz, who went on to win the Triple Crown that season, plus many other Bosox players from the "Impossible Dream" season. Included are two Tony
Conigliaro stickers (pictured above). Along with the Venezuelan Topps Tony Conigliaro issues, these are probably one of the toughest Tony C issues to find. Good luck!
My thanks to Cheryl Ann Parker, Nick Frese, Steve Giannangelo, & John Murphy for their contributions to this page! If you enjoyed this page, check out our other player
pages including Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn, Jimmy Piersall, and Roger Maris!
I recieved this email from a big Tony C fan, Nick Frese, on April 24, 2009. I thought I should put it here. Thanks Nick!
From: Nick Frese
Subject: Tony C page
Date: Friday, April 24, 2009, 5:16 AM
Enjoyed your Tony C. page very much. I have been a life-long fan of Tony's since I was a little boy back in 1967. I grew up in Southern New Jersey, but for some reason #25 was always my favorite player. I've worn #25 my
entire playing life because of him. In fact, I still play ball at age 51 (www.spraycoat.com/senators/frese25.gif) and still wear his number proudly every Sunday morning for the Washington Township Senators.
I met Tony in 1989, just six months before he mercifully passed away. I had written his mother, Theresa, a letter and sent some local clippings, and she was kind enough to respond with a very sad short note. But she gave me
her phone number there in Nahant, and invited me to stop by if I came up to Boston, which I planned to do later in the summer of '89.
And so, on a hot July day, my friend (who by coincidence had the same last name as Theresa, whose maiden name was Martelli) and I made our way to Rosemary Road on the North Shore. Tony was not there when we
arrived, as his nurse had taken him for a short ride. Theresa was there playing cards with her girlfriends. She told us to take a walk and stop back a little later, which we did.
When we returned, Tony was there, seated in the living room, a shell of what he had been. He sat before a beautiful painting of a young Conig mightily swinging a bat. A bat with his name carved in it sat by the mantle, a
souvenir of the benefit done for him up there a few years ago by Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, and many others. On another wall was the Fred Hutchinson Award Tony won back in 1969. There were other momentos of his baseball
days, too, photos with Mays and Aaron and others, and some shots of him in California with his gorgeous girlfriend, Georgia, and their two dogs.
He still had the special smile, which he showed to us often. But he was unable to communicate verbally, and could only sit there and grind his teeth. His legs were atrophied, and he had the unhealthy look of a man who had
spent seven long, difficult years traumatized by catastrophic illness. It was very, very sad. I took a second to let him know what he had meant to me as a boy growing up, and I thanked him for that. He seemed to understand.
One of Theresa's girlfriends then drove us up and out of Nahant, and we took off back to Boston. That was that.
When he passed away in February of the next year, I was happy that my hero could be freed from the confines of that body, and that he could be "up there" playing baseball again, as he did in his youth. I hope I'll meet him
again someday, and that we can have that catch I always dreams about as a 9-year-old.
Thanks for keeping Tony alive on the web. He was a special ballplayer, and in all this time, I don't think there has ever been another one like him. I don't know if there ever will.
1967 Bazooka Bubble Gum Complete Box 1967 Bazooka 3-card panel (#4 Richie Allen, #5 Mel Stottlemyre, #6 Tony Conigliaro)
Very scarce issue today are the Bazooka baseball cards that were issued on the bottom of boxes of Bazooka Bubble Gum (produced by Topps). These blank-backed cards are much smaller than the
standard Topps cards (except for 1959 Bazooka, which were oversized); about the same size as the old tobacco cards from the turn on the century. From 1959 through 1971 Bazooka issued these
baseball cards on their boxes. The cards were intended to be cut out as "single" cards and like the Post cereal/Jell-O cards and any other vintage cards that were intended to be "hand cut," most
examples were not cut well and high grade examples are extremely difficult to locate. Why? Well kids cut these out! Plus cards were not worth money like they are today. They were intended to be
collected, traded, etc. So like any vintage cards, handling, wear and tear are the norm. Expect to pay premiums for uncut panels (see above) and even more for complete boxes.
This 1967 Bazooka 3-card panel features Richie "Dick" Allen, Mel Stottlemyre, and our hero Tony Conigliaro! At the time this picture was taken, the sky was the limit for Tony C and he was
already considered to be a future Hall Of Famer. Regardless, Tony C is still revered by Red Sox and baseball fans today.
1964 Wire Photo Tony Conigliaro
Color photo of Tony C, probably taken from a sports magazine
Here is a pretty interesting piece; the original owner of this picture, which is actually a picture of Carl Yastrzemski, sent this to Tony C for an autograph. Tony didn't take offense and being the class
guy that he was wrote on the paper: "Dear John: The picture above is of Carl Yastrzemski but I'll sign it anyway. Tony Conigliaro."
Tony Conigliaro autographs are fairly expensive today, selling for over $100 each in most cases. The above example was recently seen on eBay with a minimum bid of $100 (June 2009).
1964 Venezuela Topps #287 Red Sox Rookie Stars
Among the rarest of the Tony Conigliaro cards are the Venezuela Topps cards. The Venezuela Topps cards are similar to the regular Topps cards but were issued in Venezuela from 1959-1960,
1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, and 1968. The pictures have no gloss on them like the regular Topps cards (causing them to wear & soil easily), usually the card stock is different, some of the backs will have
a different color to them or might be printed" en espanol" (1962 & 1967), and some have a "Printed in Venezuela" copyright line on the back. What is very common among these is that most are in low
grades. This is due to the fact that these cards were intended to be pasted into trading card albums. It is very common to find these with a lot of wear and back damage; sometimes you will find them with
glue residue or evidence of having at some point being pasted and removed from an album. Printed in much less quantities than the regular Topps cards, the Venezuela Topps cards are seldom found in
grades above Excellent (EX). In fact, EX or EX-MT cards are very high grades for this issue. As such, Venezuela Topps cards are much more expensive than their U.S. counterparts.
The above 1964 Venezuela Topps #287 Red Sox Rookie Stars (Tony Conigliaro, Bill Spanswick) is Tony C's rookie card, and probably his most expensive baseball card. It lists in the 2009
Sports Collector's Digest of Baseball Cards for $14 in (ungraded) EX condition but that is WAY off base as advanced collector's know. It must be a typo because the prices listed for the Venezuela Tony C
is about the same for a regular Topps card and the Venezuela Topps cards are RARE.
1968 Sports Illustrated Poster Tony Conigliaro Sport Magazine July 1969 Tony C photo
1960's Chevrolet Promotional Photo with Tony Conigliaro and Corvette (Courtesy of Steve Giannangelo)
I loved your TC page. Like many people Im sure, I was (am) a lifelong Tony Conigliaro fan. I grew up in Hyde Park in the late 60's and when I was in the 7th grade, I remember telling
a classmate named Eleanor DeMarco how much I loved Tony Conigliaro. She stunned me when she said he was a friend of the family and produced photos to prove it!
I have essentially every card, magazine and poster you show here. I also have the big metal button of his, as well as a great autographed advertisement of TC in front of a Corvette. I
think it was an ad but there was no ad text.
I was actually searching for information about his Corvette(s) as I wondered what happened to it. I remember touching his Vette around 1969 at Fenway... probably why Ive bought
them ever since! I thought I remembered it was gold, but that singer article you have says blue.
Anyway, thanks for the page. Love it.
|1960's Tony Conigliaro souvenir buttons
| 1971 Topps Coin Tony Conigliaro 1960's Tony Conigliaro Postcard (Autographed)
What a wonderful tribute to the late, great Tony Conigliaro!
As a 10 year old growing up in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Tony was my favorite Red Sox player. I had the pleasure of meeting him one night at Chelmsford High School when he made a personal appearance with
then Boston Patriot quarterback, Babe Parilli. I remember Tony singing "Why Don't They Understand" in the high school gym while hundreds of young girls screamed as if the Beatles had taken the stage.
Later in the night he signed autographs for anyone who wanted one as he sat next to the Patriot's quarterback, Parilli. As I approached the table to request an autograph from Tony, he pulled me aside and whispered,
"You're flying low, my friend." To my embarrassment, the zipper on my jeans was wide open! It was a moment I will never forget......Tony signed my program and I have it to this very day.
Thanks for the great photos and stories.......they were a real treat!
While on the same subject, here is another true story about Tony that I think you will enjoy:
One of my teammates in the Eastern Massachusetts League back in the mid-seventies (semi-professional baseball league based in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts) was a left handed pitcher named Steve
Steve played his high school baseball at Keith Academy, a well known Catholic high school based in Lowell, Massachusetts. During the same time frame, Tony Conigliaro was a slugging, high school outfielder playing
for St. Mary's of Lynn, also a prominent Catholic high school in the Greater Boston area.
The two faced each other in a well publicized state tournament game during their senior year.
As Ronan tells it, Tony C. arrived at the game driving a sleek, late model Corvette....he pulled into the Shedd Park parking lot in Lowell just ahead of the St.Mary's team bus. Two beautiful young girls got out of the
car with Tony. He was a stud and everyone knew it.
In the first inning, Tony came to the plate to face the left handed Ronan. Steve was no slouch having been scouted by several major league teams (including the Red Sox) while making a name for himself as one of the
top high school pitchers in the state. Ronan's first two pitches were high and outside to Tony. It was the third pitch he will never forget. In Ronan's own words, "I was determined not to walk Tony so I reared back and
threw one of my best fastballs that just happened to catch the inside part of the plate. The sound of Conigliaro's bat crushing the baseball is something I will never forget....it was downright scary. The ball was
launched out towards the deepest part of left field at old Shedd Park....it carried over the trees and out on to the street, an estimated 475 foot blast. Honestly, I didn't think a full grown man could hit a ball that far,
much less a 17 year old kid. The local crowd was stunned and so was I.....no one, and I mean no one, had ever hit a ball like that off me.....it humbled me to the core. I don't think I ever got over it."
1976 Playboy Press "Who Was Harry Steinfeldt? Tony Conigliaro (back view)
In 1976, Playboy Press issued a small baseball card series to promote a book called "Who Was Harry Steinfeldt? & Other Baseball Trivia Questions" by Bert Randolph Sugar. The
set included this card of Tony Conigliaro, which is pretty scarce today. By the way, in case you don't know (I didn't), Harry Steinfeldt was the "other" Cubs infielder that wasn't named "Tinker,"
"Evers," and "Chance." I recently saw this card on eBay; asking price was about $50 ($49.95, eBay Auction, January 2010). I bought it. Maybe I overpaid for it (according to the SCD Standard
Catalog of Baseball Cards I did) but I don't care! It's TONY C !!! According to PSA's Population Report, this is 1 of only 3 graded by PSA but note that this does not mean there are only 3 of these out
there on planet earth. It could be an indicator that the card is fairly scarce, but another reason is that many collectors are not even aware of this issue and have not (as yet) submitted these cards to be
graded by PSA. Regardless, it is a terrific Tony C collectible!
Here is a scarce grouping of Tony Conigliaro baseball cards. Clockwise from top left: 1968 O-Pee-Chee #140 (Topps counterpart in Canada), 1967 Venezuela Topps #245, 1964 Venezuela Topps #287 Red
Sox Rookie Stars (Tony Conigliaro, Bill Spanswick), and 1971 Bazooka #46 (Hand cut from Bazooka Bubble Gum box). All of these cards are difficult to find, in particular the Venezuela Topps cards, which can
be considered "rare." The fronts are similar to the regular Topps cards (see Tony C Gallery of Topps Cards at the top of this page) but the cardboard is inferior with no gloss, poor print quality, and the card backs are
different. Low grades are the norm for Venezuela Topps cards.
1970 O-Pee-Chee #340 Tony Conigliaro (back view)
Topps began producing "O-Pee-Chee" cards in Canada beginning in 1965. The early OPC cards have very slight differences like "Printed in Canada" copyright or different colored card backs.
Beginning in 1970, O-Pee-Chee began printing cards in both English and French. The card stock is usually different too. You can tell the difference easily on 1970's OPC cards. The above 1970
O-Pee-Chee #340 Tony Conigliaro is such an example. Note that while the front is identical to the regular 1970 Topps #340 Tony Conigliaro card (see Topps Gallery of Tony C cards at the
top of this page), the back of this OPC card has printing in English and French. It also has a "T.C. G. Printed in Canada" copyright. The 1970 Topps (or OPC) Tony C card is my personal favorite.
|1964 Topps Rookie All-Star Banquet #25 Tony Conigliaro
This might be one of Tony C's toughest cards; the Venezuela Topps cards are rare and so are these. Issued in 1964, these cards were issued by Topps in a special boxed set. It is said that maybe
200 or so of these sets were produced. That is pretty scarce. Anyway I saw this card on eBay with an asking price of something like $900. Too much for my budget but I'd love to have this card!
Tony Conigliaro Photo Gallery
(Click on image for larger scan)
August 18, 1967 Red Sox scorecard (Tony Conigliaro hit by pitch)
1971 "Jack In The Box" California Angels Tony Conigliaro (name misspelled)
Jack In The Box restaurants did produce cards of the California Angels in 1969, they did not produce these cards in 1971. Who produced them? I don't know but they are in no way connected to the Jack In The Box
restaurants. According to the Sports Collector's Digest Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards (Krause Publications, published annually) these are an "unauthorized collectors issue with no official connection to either the
team or the fast food restaurant chain. So these were most likely created by a collector and are not "officially" baseball cards. However the price guide does list the Tony C card for $15 in NM condition so there is a
demand for the card; the above card is currently listed on eBay for about $50. While that price seems steep, it is still a great card and being that there are few Tony C cards during his brief playing career (especially
with the Angels) I can see why this one would be on most collector's want lists. P.S. Check out the spelling on Tony C's last name, "Conligiaro." Obviously whoever created these cards was an Angels (and not a Red
1960's Tony Conigliaro autographed photo (Back view)
These Tony Conigliaro photos (by Jerry Buckley) were used for fan requests by mail. Tony would often sign these, address them himself and send them to fans. The above photo is an example
of one. According to the postmark this was mailed from Lynn Massachusetts in 1967.
1965 Tony Conigliaro RCA 45 RPM album sleeve (note record is
different but autographed)
The following items were provided by long time Tony C fan Nick Frese. I sure appreciate the time he took to send me these. I have also included some of his emails to better describe the Tony C
items. Thanks so much Nick! Tim
I just re-stumbled upon your page and read the item from Cheryl Ann Parker. How cool it was to read her account about Tony! Made me feel good to know he had people around him that cared
about him like that. If you ever communicate with her again, please give her my best -- from a fellow Tony C. fan and fellow musician, too! (www.lovealiveband.com).
Hey, would you like to have a scan of the letter I received from Theresa Conigliaro about Tony way back in 1989? I think I can still track it down in my office. I have a bunch of articles about him
from back in the day, too, and a signed postcard from when he was at KGO in California as a sportscaster. If you can use then, I'll be glad to scan and send 'em along.
Best, Nick Frese
1970's KGO 7 News Scene (San Francisco) Tony Conigliaro Postcard (Courtesy of Nick Frese)
"This is a postcard Tony sent me in 1973 in response to a letter I sent him asking about his comeback. Gracious as always, as you can see. I blacked out the address, though of course it is a
long ago place and time for me. Nick"
"This is a letter I received from Angel's GM Harry Dalton in 1974. He was obviously responding to some irate letter I had written to him about why they had refused to sign Tony. Can you
imagine a GM today taking time to answer a letter from some dopey kid a continent away?? Nick"
The Letter reads:
Thank you for your letter of March 1 inquiring about Tony Conigliaro. We did not bring him to our camp simply because we already had nine outfielders on our roster, and Tony told us he
did not want to come to camp unless he could play every day. With the experienced men we already had, it simply was not possible to give Tony that opportunity. We explained this to him,
and he understood.
I cannot possible tell you why the other 23 clubs had no interest in him. You will have to write those individual clubs about that.
Our records show that Tony's address is One Willow Road, Nahant, Massachusetts, 01908.
Thanks for your interest. Sincerely yours, Harry I. Dalton, Vice President and General Manager California Angels"
1970's Tony C Postcard (Autographed "To Nick, Best Wishes, Tony Conigliaro") Courtesy Nick Frese
1960's Tony Conigliaro Charm Bracelet (Stadium Souvenir)
|2009 NEHF Sons of Italy Foundation Anthony Richard Conigliaro
I normally do not post newer or "modern" cards on this site; however with Tony C. I will make an exception or two. This small card was issued in 2009 by NEHF (National Ethnic Heritage
Foundation) & Sons Of Italy Foundation. The card pictures an artists portrait of Tony and the back has a biography and lifetime statistics. I think the card was about $3; very inexpensive Tony
For Cheryl Ann!!!