While baseball players often carry a well-earned reputation for being soft, especially in comparison to their hockey and football counterparts, the Red Sox have had multiple examples of “true grit” on their roster.
Swampscott’s Tony Conigliaro reached 100 home runs quicker than anyone had in American League history. “Tony C.” was as beloved as they come in this city, even as a teen-ager. Conigliaro was on his way to a monster season in 1967 when Angels pitcher Jack Hamilton hit him in the face with on Aug. 18. He was carried off the field on a stretcher with a broken cheekbone and severe damage to his left retina. He didn’t return until 1969 and eventually retired in 1975 because his eyesight had been permanently damaged.
The true grit of Tony C. can be seen most notably today’s Red Sox roster in Dustin Pedroia, who has played through injury on multiple occasions, and cancer (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) survivor Jon Lester.