Monday, October 22, 2012
no. 105 - tony conigliaro
Who is the man: Tony Conigliaro was coming off the best season of his career when this card hit packs. The Red Sox traded him anyway, in October of 1970.
Can ya dig it: The Red Sox logo on Conigliaro's cap is blacked out, which was a common practice for Topps at the time (the 1969 set is littered with blacked-out caps). This is the first blacked-out cap in the 1971 set, but there are many others, particularly in the higher numbers.
Right on: Again, I must admire how players signed their names back in the day. "Conigliaro" is a long name and you can read every damn letter.
You see this cat Conigliaro is a bad mother: Of course, the most famous moment of Conigliaro's career was when he was struck in the face by a pitch from the Angels' Jack Hamilton in 1967, causing permanent damage to his career. But it didn't stop Conigliaro at first. His comeback was so striking in 1969 that he easily won Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Shut your mouth: According to Congliaro's SABR bio, Ted Williams warned a business partner of Conigliaro's that Tony was crowding the plate too much and that "it's serious time now. The pitchers are going to get serious." That was the day before Conigliaro was hit by Hamilton's pitch.
No one understands him but his woman: Conigliaro's trade to the Angels shocked the baseball community, and Congliaro himself was stunned. Speculation is that the Red Sox sensed that Conigliaro's vision problems had returned and that the player would never be more easily traded than he was at that moment. The Red Sox didn't explain the trade much, but the deal was a smart one. Conigliaro struggled with his eye and had other injuries while with the Angels.
(A word about the back): Wow, that's a giant Angels logo airbrushed on there.