Event offers glimpse into Tony C’s early years

A trio of Tony Conigliaro's friends will gather to share memories of the late St. Mary's and Red Sox star. (Courtesy Photo)

LYNN — Those fans who yearn to get a glimpse of Tony Conigliaro’s formative years will get a chance to learn about them tonight at the Lynn Museum.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the night Conigliaro was hit by a fastball thrown by Jack Hamilton of the California Angels, three high school friends — Frank Carey, Tom Iarrobino and Tony Nicosia — will be at the museum on Washington Street to talk about their experiences growing up with, and playing baseball with, “Tony C.”

The forum, which begins at 6 p.m., will be moderated by Item publisher Ted Grant.

Carey, Iarrobino Nicosia all played baseball with Conigliaro at St. Mary’s High. They also had a front-row seat during Conigliaro’s career with the Red Sox, as the four remained friends during Conigliaro’s life, both as a Major League baseball player and beyond.

All three also coached together for the Shoemaker American Legion Post baseball team The evening is being sponsored by Essex Media Group/The Daily Item and St. Mary’s High School. It is set up as a night to hear the three ex-teammates share stories and anecdotes about their friend.

He went from being Swampscott’s Tony Conigliaro to simply “Tony C” in an astonishingly short amount of time. Between the time he was a 19-year-old rookie in 1964 and August of ’67, he’d surpassed the 100-homer mark — the youngest person, at age 22, to have done so in the American League.

The night he was hit by a Jack Hamilton fastball — Aug. 18, 1967, in the middle of the “Impossible Dream” pennant race — is a date that’ll live forever in the minds of Red Sox fans. It might be the most significant and devastating injury ever suffered by a Boston athlete.

Even though Conigliaro played again after taking a year off to recuperate, he was never the same and ultimately retired in 1971 — only seven years after his rookie season. He suffered a heart attack in 1982 and died eight years later.

Tickets for tonight’s event are $25.

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