Sadly this whole event that destroyed his career and his quality of life could have been avoided.
Young, aggressive and willing to take chances Tony C was a notorious plate-crowder with numerous injuries, including broken bones, from being hit by pitches. On August 18, 1967 while playing the California Angels, pitcher Jack Hamilton’s fourth-inning fastball came in and struck Tony in the face, just missing his temple but hitting him in the left eye and breaking his cheekbone. Out for the season, Tony came back the next year and while the 1970 season was Conigliaro’s best at the plate (with 36 homers and 116 RBIs) he was never the same. He ended his career in 1971 complaining of headaches and the inability to see the ball.
Unfortunately, life went downhill for Tony C after his baseball career. While being driven to an airport in 1982, he suffered a debilitating heart attack. Soon after that, he suffered a stroke and went into a coma for eight years. During those eight years, he was sustained at his parents’ house in a vegetative state until he eventually died in February, 1990. He was only 45.
This is truly one of the saddest “what if” stories in all of modern sports.
Final Resting Place:
Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum
Malden, Massachusetts, 02148
Grave Location:Garden of Faith, Section 0, Grave 457
Grave Location Description
The Garden of Faith is directly opposite the cemetery office towards the road that separates this massive cemetery. From the office walk directly to the fence that runs along Lynn Street and Tony C can be found along the black metal fence about 50 feet from the entrance. His upright monument is easy to find with all the baseballs that adorn the grave.