Tony Conigliaro Beaned – August 18, 1967
On August 18, 1967, forty-seven years and two days after Ray Chapman was killed by a Carl Mays fastball, Tony Conigliaro was hit in the face by a pitch thrown by California Angels’s Jack Hamilton. At the time of his injury, Conigliaro was one of baseball’s rising stars. He missed the remainder of the 1967 season and did not play at all in 1968. In 1969, to the surprise of many, he returned to the Red Sox and had the first of two very productive years with them. After being traded to the Angels in 1971, Conigliaro’s eyesight worsened and his average dropped to .222. In a failed comeback with the Red Sox in 1975, he played in 57 games and batted .123.
Conigliaro had earned himself the privilege to distinguish himself as the only teenager in MLB history to hit 25 home runs in a season, as well as the youngest player in American League history to reach 100 career home runs.
In fact, according to sabremetrics, when Tony C was 21 years old, the most similar player to him statistically speaking was Mickey Mantle. At the age of 22, it was Frank Robinson, a first-ballot hall of fame electee, as was Mantle.
Injuries were not new to Tony C, who ended his rookie season prematurely in 1964 with a broken arm. If not for that injury, he may have been able to capture Rookie of the Year honors from Tony Oliva.
But after August 18, 1967, Conigliaro would never again be the same.
Read more: Bleacher Report
Last Sunday, when the California Angels were in Oakland and the Boston Red Sox were in New York, Tony and Billy Conigliaro were at home in Nahant, Mass., fishing for flounder in the morning and gloomily catching television accounts of the controversies they had created in the afternoon.
At dawn of the day before, Tony had issued the startling announcement that, at age 26, he was quitting the Angels and ending forever his frequently brilliant but sometimes calamitous seven-year career in the major leagues. He had virtually no vision, he said, in the left eye that was struck by a pitched ball four years ago.
Read more: Sports Illustrated