TONY CONIGLIARO: “Tony, We Hardly Knew You” Part I

Tony ConigliaroIn June of 1962, Tony Conigliaro of Swampscott, MA, starred for St. Mary’s High School of Lynn. By April of 1964, the 19-year-old Conigliaro was a starting outfielder for the Boston Red Sox.

In his first at-bat at Fenway Park, Tony Conigliaro hit the first pitch thrown to him for a home run. In his rookie year he belted 24 roundtrippers to set a major league record for home runs by a teenager. In 1965 he hit 32 homers to lead the American League, making him the youngest player to ever lead the league in home runs. In June of 1967 he hit his 100th major league home run. At age 22 years, 6 months and 16 days, he was the youngest player in the history of the American League to reach that level.

But Tony Conigliaro was more than a home run hitter and more than raw statistics. Tony C. was a local hero. He was one of us.

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Memories and Dreams

George Webb 200We mocked our friend, called him a Punch and Judy wimp. We bet 10 bucks and a pack of baseball cards he could never hit a home run, not over the fence anyway. It was a Saturday. We were in the outfield taunting him. There were no teachers and so he marched with bat and ball to second base and yelled, “You want some home run action. I’ll give you some home run action.’’

He tossed the ball in the air and waited for it to come down, level with his bat, and when it did, he swung and made solid aluminum contact, a line drive SMASH, into a second story window of our elementary school, 250 feet away.

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