Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Oakland A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty wins 2018 Tony Conigliaro Award

Oakland A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Tony Conigliaro Award in voting conducted by an 18-person committee of media members, Major League Baseball executives, Red Sox officials, fan representatives, and Conigliaro's brothers, Richie and Billy. 

The Tony Conigliaro Award has been given every year since 1990 in memory of the former Red Sox outfielder, whose career was tragically shortened by a beanball in 1967 and whose life ended in 1990 at the age of 45. It is awarded to a "Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C."

Oakland A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Tony Conigliaro Award in voting conducted by an 18-person committee of media members, Major League Baseball executives, Red Sox officials, fan representatives, and Conigliaro's brothers, Richie and Billy. 

The Tony Conigliaro Award has been given every year since 1990 in memory of the former Red Sox outfielder, whose career was tragically shortened by a beanball in 1967 and whose life ended in 1990 at the age of 45. It is awarded to a "Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C."

The award will be presented at the 80th annual Boston Baseball Writers' dinner co-hosted by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America and the Sports Museum. The dinner is scheduled to be held January 17, 2019, at the InterContinental Boston.

"I am deeply honored to receive the Tony Conigliaro Award," Piscotty said. "To be included among this courageous group of past winners, and Tony himself, is a distinction I'll always treasure. During my mother's courageous battle with ALS, she fought hard to give my family lasting memories that we will treasure forever. She also worked tirelessly to bring more awareness to ALS so that we can hopefully one day find a cure. She is with me in accepting this award."

In May 2017, Piscotty's mother, Gretchen, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The outfielder took a leave of absence with the St. Louis Cardinals following the diagnosis, taking time to be with his family in Pleasanton, CA. He returned to the Cardinals as his mother battled a neurodegenerative disease roughly 2,000 miles away, batting .235 with nine home runs and 39 RBI for St. Louis in 2017. Following the season, on December 14, the Cardinals traded Piscotty to the A's, in large part to allow him to be closer to home.

Following the trade, Piscotty moved back home and lived with his parents and two younger brothers. Less than one year after her ALS diagnosis, Gretchen Piscotty passed away on May 6, 2018, with her family by her side. Piscotty missed four games on the bereavement list following his mother's passing. He returned to the A's on May 15 and was in the starting lineup that night at Fenway Park. In his first at-bat of that game, he hit a home run over the Green Monster in the second inning, helping Oakland earn a 5-3 victory over the Red Sox. He went on to post career highs in home runs (27) and RBI (88) in 2018, and in his final 106 games of the season he hit .286 with a .906 OPS, as he helped lead the A's to their first postseason appearance since 2014. 

A native of Swampscott, MA, Conigliaro hit a home run in his first at-bat at Fenway Park in 1964 at only 19 years old. A year later, he became the youngest player to lead his league in home runs when he hit 32 in 1965, his second full season in the big leagues. He also became the youngest American League player to reach 100 home runs when he hit No. 100 at 22 years and 197 days old, just 65 days older than the major league record holder, Mel Ott (22 years, 132 days).
 
Conigliaro's early promise of greatness went unfulfilled after he was struck in the face by a pitch on August 18, 1967. The pitch fractured his left cheekbone, dislocated his jaw, and severely damaged the retina in his left eye. He missed all of the 1968 season, but returned to play two more years in Boston, hitting a career-high 36 home runs for the Sox in 1970, when he also drove in 116 runs. He was traded after the season to the Angels, but declining vision led him to announce his retirement in 1971. He attempted another comeback for the Red Sox in 1975, but ended his career after batting just .123 in 69 plate appearances.
 
Congliaro suffered a massive heart attack in 1982, and died eight years later at the age of 45. 
 
To purchase tickets to the Boston Baseball Writers' dinner, please visit www.sportsmuseum.org or call (617) 624-1231. For more information, please contact Ashley Walenta at awalenta@sportsmuseum.org.

Tony Conigliaro Award recipients:
2018 -- Stephen Piscotty, Athletics
2017 -- Chad Bettis, Rockies
2016 -- Yangervis Solarte, Padres
2015 -- Mitch Harris, Cardinals
2014 -- Wilson Ramos, Nationals
2013 -- John Lackey, Red Sox
2012 -- R.A. Dickey, Mets
2011 -- Tony Campana, Cubs
2010 -- Joaquin Benoit, Rays
2009 -- Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
2008 -- Rocco Baldelli, Rays
2007 -- Jon Lester, Red Sox
2006 -- Freddy Sanchez, Pirates
2005 -- Aaron Cook, Rockies
2004 -- Dewon Brazelton, Rays
2003 -- Jim Mecir, Athletics
2002 -- Jose Rijo, Reds
2001 -- Jason Johnson, Orioles; Graeme Lloyd, Expos
2000 -- Kent Mercker, Angels; Tony Saunders, Marlins
1999 -- Mike Lowell, Marlins
1998 -- Bret Saberhagen, Red Sox
1997 -- Eric Davis, Orioles
1996 -- Curtis Pride, Tigers
1995 -- Scott Radinsky, White Sox
1994 -- Mark Leiter, Angels
1993 -- Bo Jackson, White Sox
1992 -- Jim Abbott, Angels
1991 -- Dickie Thon, Phillies
1990 -- Jim Eisenreich, Royals

Boston Red Sox