Tony Conigliaro Award

From BR Bullpen

The Tony Conigliaro Award is a annual award created in 1990 by the Boston Red Sox to honor the memory of their former star Tony Conigliaro. Conigliaro whose career was tragically shortened when he was hit in the face by a pitch in 1967 and would later die from a heart attack at 45. It is given to a Major League Baseball player who best overcomes an obstacle and adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage that were trademarks of Conigliaro. It can be likened to the National Hockey League's "Bill Masterton Award", which honors similar qualities.

A special panel is composed of the media, representatives of the commissioner and the two leagues' offices as well as Conigliaro's brothers Billy and Richie make the selection. Announcement of the award is made at the annual major league winter meetings in December and the formal presentation takes place at the Boston Baseball Writers Association dinner in January.

Award Winners[edit]

Year Player Reason
1990 Jim Eisenreich Tourette syndrome
1991 Dickie Thon Recovered from a beaning in 1984 very similar to Conigliaro's
1992 Jim Abbott Born without a right hand
1993 Bo Jackson Came back from hip replacement surgery in 1992
1994 Mark Leiter Lost 9-month-old son to Werdnig-Hoffman disease during offseason
1995 Scott Radinsky Came back from Hodgkin's disease
1996 Curtis Pride Deaf from birth
1997 Eric Davis Came back after diagnosis of colon cancer early that season
1998 Bret Saberhagen Came back from serious shoulder injuries
1999 Mike Lowell Came back from testicular cancer
2000 Kent Mercker Came back from cerebral hemorrhage
Tony Saunders Came back after breaking his arm while throwing a pitch
2001 Graeme Lloyd Wife suffered from Crohn's disease, which would cause her death in 2004
Jason Johnson Johnson is a Type 1 diabetic who wears an insulin pump on the field
2002 José Rijo Came back after five years out of baseball with serious elbow injuries
2003 Jim Mecir Born with two club feet
2004 Dewon Brazelton Underwent reconstructive knee surgery and Tommy John surgery before graduating from high school
2005 Aaron Cook Came back after surgery in 2004 to remove blood clots from both lungs
2006 Freddy Sanchez Born with a club foot (right) and pigeon toed foot (left)
2007 Jon Lester Diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2006
2008 Rocco Baldelli Diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder that causes muscle fatigue
2009 Chris Carpenter Had Tommy John surgery and nerve problems in his throwing arm
2010 Joaquin Benoit Sat out a year after a rotator cuff tear
2011 Tony Campana Diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma as a child
2012 R.A. Dickey Child sexual abuse victim, pitches without an ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm
2013 John Lackey Underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 and missed 2012 season
2014 Wilson Ramos Was kidnapped while playing winter ball in 2011 and overcame various serious injuries
2015 Mitch Harris Delayed his professional baseball career for five years while serving in the US Navy
2016 Yangervis Solarte Lost his wife to cancer in 2016
2017 Chad Bettis Overcame testicular cancer
2018 Stephen Piscotty Death of his mother to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
2019 Rich Hill Numerous arm injuries; death of his son
2020 Daniel Bard Unretirement; MLB comeback in 2020 after not playing there since 2013; overcame control issues
2021 Trey Mancini Came back after missing 2020 season after diagnosis of colon cancer
2022 José Cuas Overcame numerous setbacks and obstacles to make it to the big leagues
2023 Liam Hendriks Came back from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bill Nowlin and Clayton Trutor, eds.: Overcoming Adversity: Baseball's Tony Conigliaro Award, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2017. ISBN 978-1-943816-43-9