|Back in uniform after his injury, Tony Conigliaro leads the cheers from the dugout. (FRANK O'BRIEN/GLOBE STAFF/file 1967)|
Recalling Tony C
Mike Andrews, former teammate:
"He was destined for the Hall of Fame. There was no question in my mind. He just had everything going for him. He was as good a clutch hitter as I've ever seen."
Dick Williams, manager of 1967 Red Sox, on whether Boston could have won the World Series that year with a healthy Conigliaro:
"Oh, yes. We could have won more than '67."
Carl Yastrzemski, former teammate:
"He was just starting to come into his own as a big-league ballplayer all around."
Johnny Pesky, former Sox shortstop and longtime coach:
"He was a great player. The best 19-year-old I ever saw. That's one of the tragedies of baseball. When he got hurt, he was the best-looking young player I ever saw. I've said that many times. There's a lot of coulda, shoulda. We'll never know."
Mike Lowell, who wears Tony C's number 25 for the Red Sox and received the 1999 Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity after beating testicular cancer:
"It's a good name to be intertwined with, as opposed to something that might be negative. . . . I got some fan mail from people who say that they're proud that I'm wearing 25 because they're big Conigliaro fans. So that's got to be a pretty substantial compliment. I take it as good. . . . But I think it's just a shame that someone who was so highly touted like that. . . . It's sad to think that one moment really can change that so much."
Dick Bresciani, Red Sox historian, on Conigliaro's abbreviated 1975 comeback attempt:
"It was sad to see a guy who probably should have been still in his prime and all of a sudden he just couldn't perform well anymore."
Dick Johnson, curator of New England Sports Museum:
"I saw him when he'd been retired for about two years. He was a broadcaster out in the [San Francisco] area. They had a home-run-hitting contest and Tony C took part in it in street clothes, white shoes, checked polyester sport coat, a pair of bell-bottoms. And he gets in the batter's box, and my recollection is that he hit six of 10 pitches out of the park. It was remarkable. My brother and I were going crazy."
Jim Lonborg, former teammate:
"We were in spring training. We had a series with the Yankees down in St. Thomas and St. Croix. There were day games at very funky fields, pretty rough shape. I can remember being out at a wonderful restaurant up on top of a hill, Mike Ryan, and Rico [Petrocelli], Tony, and myself. Having dinner and then cocktails and then singing all kinds of great doo-wop songs. It was a wonderful night."
Rico Petrocelli, former teammate, on Conigliaro's comeback:
"Absolutely [amazing]. I thought he'd never come back. The hole in his eye. Geez, the damage. How can you hit if you can't see well? I thought it was one of the greatest comebacks of all time. I think we all did."
Billy Conigliaro, younger brother, on his memory of Aug. 18, 1967:
"The sound of the ball hitting him. It was just a big whack, a thud. The ball just went straight down. It didn't glance off. It didn't skip to the backstop. It just kind of fell right there."
Compiled by Maureen Mullen