A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty, who so bravely navigated and thrived amid adversity last season, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Tony Conigliaro Award.Presented every year since 1990, it honors a Major Leaguer that "has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage that were trademarks of
A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty, who so bravely navigated and thrived amid adversity last season, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Tony Conigliaro Award.
Presented every year since 1990, it honors a Major Leaguer that "has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage that were trademarks of Tony C."
Piscotty came to Oakland in an offseason trade with the Cardinals last winter that allowed him to move home and tend to his mother, Gretchen, who was battling ALS. Piscotty played the role of caretaker alongside his family when he wasn't on the field, an unimaginable task he handled with such strength and grace.
Those same attributes were on display following Gretchen's passing in May. While the A's embarked on a lengthy East Coast road trip, Piscotty remained at home to mourn her loss, days later rejoining the team in Boston and hitting an emotional home run over the Green Monster in his first at-bat.
Piscotty went on to hit 27 homers in a career year, batting .267 with 88 RBIs to help the A's into the American League Wild Card Game. All the while, he was tremendously patient and accommodating with the media, earning the BBWAA Bill Rigney Good Guy Award.
"Stephen Piscotty became a mainstay for us last year," A's manager Bob Melvin said this week. "But not only was he out there every day, he had to go through a lot and maybe ended up having the best season that he's had.
"When you look at our team last year, I don't know that anybody kind of embodied what we were about more than Stephen Piscotty, and the production would show that, too."
The Tony Conigliaro Award is awarded in memory of the former Red Sox outfielder, whose career was tragically shortened by a beanball in 1967. Conigliaro passed in '90 at the age of 45, and his brothers, Richie and Billy, are among the 18-person committee -- which also includes media members, MLB executives, Red Sox officials and fan representatives -- who vote on the award.
Piscotty is the second A's player to earn it, joining Jim Mecir (2003).
"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."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.