Carl Yastrzemski on Tony Conigliaro

Carl Yastrzemski was in the on deck circle when Jack Hamilton’s pitch hit Tony C in the eye.
“We were all afraid for him,” says Yaz. “It’s like he almost lost the ball. He never moved. It hit him flush, and we didn’t have the ear flaps then. When he went down, I thought it was the end of our chance for the pennant.”
 
Yaz was asked if Tony C were a guy who’d have joined him in Cooperstown.
“Without a doubt, without any doubt. He was an extremely talented hitter and in ’67 he became a great defensive player. There’s no doubt that if he didn’t get hit in the eye, he could have been in the Hall of Fame.”

Comments

  1. Andy Stewart says:

    I think that Tony C.’s career is the saddest story in the history of baseball–even more than Ray Chapman and the Cincinatti catcher that killed himself, because like Yaz said, he was heading to the Hall of Fame. And despite his many attempts, he was able to truly come back. I was so excited when he made the team in 1975. Too bad he couldn’t stay with the Sox until the World Series. And then the stroke hit right as he was going to get a broadcasting gig. So, so sad.

  2. Walt in Maryland says:

    Petrocelli was on deck when Tony C. was hit, not Yaz. Impossible to say how Tony’s career would have gone without the beaning, but two things aren’t discussed often enougn:

    1. Tony C. stood right on top of the plate, daring pitchers to throw inside. He was bound to get hurt eventually. The Hamilton beaning marked the third time in his young career he’d been seriously injured by an inside pitch.
    2. Yaz and Tony C. were far from bosom buddies. In fact there were Yaz and Tony C. factions that formed in the Sox clubhouse after Tony returned in 1969. They eventually led to internal strife that in part prompted Boston to deal Conigliaro after 1970.

    It’s not too likely the two of them would have co-existed for 10-plus years in Boston.