FOXBORO — Growing up as a young athlete in Swampscott, former NFL player and coach Dick Jauron looked up to Red Sox great Tony Conigliaro as Tony played high school baseball at St. Mary’s High School in Lynn.
“I was a little league player when Tony was in high school and it was exciting for everyone,” Jauron said. “We would all go down to Fraser Field and watch high school games and Tony, he was the best.”
Conigliaro would go on to sign with the Red Sox at the age of 17, becoming the youngest player to ever win the American League home run title at age 20 and the youngest player in the AL to ever reach 100 home runs.
Jauron would find his own successes, in football, at Swampscott High School and beyond. He played five seasons with the NFL’s Detroit Lions and four with the Cincinnati Bengals, earning All-Pro honors in 1974. He also served as head coach of the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills.
Both Jauron and Conigliaro (posthumously), along with other Massachusetts athletes, were honored and inducted into the MIAA Hall of Fame Monday night at Gillette Stadium.
“I’m really excited about it, I certainly love high school sports and the importance of athletics and academics,” Jauron said. “It’s a great combination.
“It’s a great group of people. I’m really excited to be apart of it it’s an honor,” he added.
Escorting Jauron was Swampscott high school student and football player Jake Bartram, who was honored to be selected to join a Swampscott legend.
“It feels great, I’m honored, definitely an honor for the school, a pleasure for my athletic director for picking me,” Bartram said. “He is great, I’ve heard plenty of stories especially about his football career.”
The event, titled MIAA Legends, also included Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy, former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Matt Hasselbeck, women’s basketball great Sarah Behn, and Winthrop’s Mike Eruzione, former hockey player who served as captain of and scored the game winning goal against the Soviet Union for the U.S. national hockey team who won gold at the 1980 Olympics.
Eruzione talked about growing up in a three-family home in Winthrop in front of the crowd in attendance, including how he started playing hockey with his sister’s old figure skates.
“My sister had these white figure skates that I fit in to and we didn’t have a lot of money in the house,” Eruzione said. “My parents just wouldn’t buy you equipment because you wanted to it you had to show them that you wanted to do it.”
Eventually, his mom would save enough money to get Eruzione at pair of hockey skates. He would go on to become a captain on Winthrop High School hockey and play for Boston University, eventually captaining the 1980 U.S. men’s national hockey team to their improbable Olympic gold medal.
“It’s a great place to live and I still live there now,” he added about his hometown.
Much like Jauron admired Conigliaro, Eruzione looked up to Jauron growing up in Winthrop.
“When I was really young Dick was someone I admired and looked up to quite a bit because Winthrop and Swampscott were so close,” Eruzione said. “I knew everything about Dick, football was my passion in high school. Next to Harry Agganis, I don’t think there’s anyone greater on the North Shore.”