Anthony Richard Conigliaro
(January 7, 1945 – February 24, 1990), nicknamed "Tony C" and "Conig", was a Major League Baseball outfielder and right-handed batter who played for the Boston Red Sox (1964–67, 1969–1970, 1975) and California Angels (1971). He was born in Revere, Massachusetts and was a 1962 graduate of St. Mary's High School (Lynn, Massachusetts). During the Red Sox "Impossible Dream" season of 1967, he was hit in the face by a pitch, causing a severe eye injury and derailing his career. Though he would make a dramatic comeback from the injury, his career was not the same afterwards.
Conigliaro was signed by the Red Sox in 1962, at the age of 17. In 1963, he batted .363 with 24 home runs in the New York - Penn League and was subsequently called up to the majors.
During his 1964 rookie season, Conigliaro batted .290 with 24 home runs and 52 RBI in 111 games, but broke his arm and his toes in August. In his first at-bat in Fenway Park, Conigliaro hit a towering home run in the 2nd inning against the White Sox.
In his sophomore season in 1965, Conigliaro led the league in home runs (32), becoming the youngest home run champion in American League history. He was selected for the All-Star Game in 1967. In that season, at age 22, he not only reached a career total of 100 home runs but he also reached that milestone at the youngest age of American League player.
On August 18, 1967, the Red Sox were playing the California Angels at Fenway Park. Conigliaro, batting against Jack Hamilton, was hit by a pitch on his left cheekbone, and was carried off the field on a stretcher. He sustained a linear fracture of the left cheekbone and a dislocated jaw with severe damage to his left retina. The batting helmet he was wearing did not have the protective ear-flap that has since become standard.
A year and a half later, Conigliaro made a remarkable return, hitting 20 homers with 82 RBI in 141 games, earning Comeback Player of the Year honors. In 1970, he reached career-high numbers in HRs (36) and RBI (116). That season he and his brother Billy formed two-thirds of the Red Sox outfield. After a stint with the Angels in 1971, he returned to the Red Sox briefly in 1975 as a DH, but was forced to retire because his eyesight had been permanently damaged.
Conigliaro batted .267, with 162 home runs and 501 RBI during his 802-game Red Sox career. With the Angels, he hit .222 with 4 home runs and 15 RBI in 74 games. He holds the MLB record for most home runs (24) hit by a teenage player. He is the second-youngest player to hit his 100th homer (after Mel Ott in 1931), and the youngest American League player to do so.
During the height of his popularity in 1965, he recorded "Little Red Scooter", which became a regional hit that he later performed on the Merv Griffin Show, among others. In the same year, he recorded "Why Don't They Understand", which registered nationally, reaching #121 on Cashbox magazine's "Looking Ahead" survey.
Conigliaro also made headline news for dating the actress and model Mamie Van Doren.