February 24, 1990 - Former Red Sox slugger Tony Conigliaro dies of pneumonia and kidney failure at the age of 45.
Conigliaro was the youngest American League player ever to reach 100 career home runs.
He was nearly blinded by a 1967 beaning and never really fully recovered.
Also the youngest AL player to win a home-run title. 1965 @ age 20----32 home runs.
He hit the very 1st pitch thrown to him first year in the Majors-[Red Sox]-for a HR----@ Fenway
Tony & friends frequented some "clubs" on the beach in Revere, Mass.
One of those "oasis"----namely, "The Reef"....... where my nephew and his friends, all lived in East Boston a short ride from Revere, also frequented,
Resulted in my nephew getting Tony's autograph on a napkin.
That napkin was given to me as a gift....and still have it.
Right TG and Micky Mantle drank himself to death - so, what's your point?
My point is, Tony C. was an up and coming star in MLB when his career was cut short by a fastball to the head.
Who knows how good he might have been?
What "killed" Tony C. was that Jack Hamilton pitch.......all that he "suffered" afterwards, including painkillers and anti-depression meds, was directly incidental/related to THAT pitch. Nothing more, nothing less!!
The Red Sox lost another aspiring young (local) great player about 12 years before Tony C. made the scene.
The "Golden Greek"....Harry Agganis. Blood clot, 25 years old.
Had his choice---could of played pro football as a quarter-back, or pro baseball.
The Cleveland Browns offered him big money-[Big at the time]--but, he signed with the Red Sox for less money to be closer to his widowed mother in Lynn Massachusetts. His last words----"Take care of my mother."
Actually---the Boston Baseball Writers Association--[not the Red Sox]- makes the BoSox rookie award named for Agganis.
Last year, Ryan Kalish was honored with that award.
Yes, to your second question also.
As you probably well know Lou, being a transplanted Bostonian---there are several named Agganis awards, baseball and football, high school and college; and one scholarship that he started while still alive, awarded to a high school student of Greek heritage----ongloing after his death.
A street near the old Braves Field---later owned by B.U----where Agganis played B.U. football, a stadium, and arena have been named for him--as well as local baseballl/football events in his hometown of Lynn, Mass.
My High School buddy and football co-player--Johnny Nunziato, became 1st string QB at B.U. after Agganis graduated in 1952.
I started as a B.U. Freshman--[G.I. Bill-Korean War]--September 16 of 1953. Was discharged September 3rd. 1953.
BTW--The Cleveland Browns wanted Agganis as a groomed successor to the great QB Otto Graham.
The rejected offer was $100,000.00------He signed with the Red Sox for $50,000.00
True, I knew of Tony's liking to down a few----witnessed and often done in public "Heavy" drinking---I don't know!
What's the line brtween "heavy" drinking....and just "plain" drinking.
Probably only in the eyes of the beholder.
Tony was young, a good looking dude, single, and loaded with money. Also was pursuing a singing career.
The ladies loved him....and surely the "love" was returned!!
Also known, via Johnny Pesky---a neighbor of the Conigliaros---and one-time manager of the Red Sox when Tony was playing; that Tony was a disciplinary problem with the Red Sox.
And it was Pesky who "found" Tony C.---Figured he had MLB potential, and got him signed with the Red Sox at age 17.
The Red Sox front-office management team, at the time, also had problems with Tony's father...Sal.
That being another story!!!
Drugs????----possibly, but..... from what authoritive source, or witnesses, can one unequivocally state he used drugs????
I can't say he did....or didn't-----and I was around when Tony C. made the scene, and for years afterward.
While the media had picked up on his drinking, late night carousing, and Red Sox discipline problems,..I don't recall, at the time, any references made to his use of drugs.
Rest In Peace, Tony!!
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