Tony C’s First Homerun

Redsoxchicksfolks_1 As told to the Red Sox Chick:

I was always a baseball fan, but I had never gone to Fenway Park until I started dating my husband.  Once we started dating, we almost never missed a home game.  Remember, this was back in the early 60s and it was easy to not only get a seat for a game, but it was easy to get good seats.  So on April 17, 1964, we were sitting on the third base line about four rows back on the aisle. 

Tony Conigliaro was special to me before I even saw him because I was also from Revere.  Much like my daughter, I started reading the sports page at a young age, so I was well aware of who Tony C was, and I couldn’t wait to see Tonyc3 him in person.

I was never one of those young women who followed baseball because the players were cute (like a certain blogger who shall remain nameless started her baseball following life) but the moment I saw Tony C step out on the field, that all changed.  I was in  love.  And I would have cast aside my then-boyfriend, now-husband in a moment if Tony C asked me to.  Obviously, he didn’t.

So taken with Tony C was I, that the memories of that game are few.  I watched him throughout the game, ignoring my former favorite, Dick Stuart, who was on first that day.  (My husband never liked Stuart Tonyc2j {"stone fingers"}, but always liked Conigliaro, so we were good!)  A note from my husband, "Stuart was at first base what Renteria was at shortstop last year".  I like Renteria too.  🙂

What I do remember is Frank Malzone hitting a solo homerun, and two outs later Tony C hit his solo homerun.  His first as a Red Sox player during his first MLB at-bat.  The crowd, such as it was, went crazy.  And this was back in the day when the crowds were a little tamer than in the 70s and now.  Red Sox Chick’s dad and I were on our feet, cheering the hometown boy.

Of course, true to any story in Red Sox lore, that was his only hit that day.  But it was a memorable one.  To this day, Tony C is one of my all-time favorite players.

Tonyc1 Jim and I were married In April of 1965 (On the 25th.  Chosen instead of the other days available because it was Tony C’s number.  Now you all know where Cyn comes from!), and we never attended another opening day (until Red Sox Chick took Jim in 2001 and they saw Manny Ramirez’s first homerun as a Red Sox player at HIS first at-bat!).  It’s been a while since I’ve been to Fenway, but I can still see Tonyc4_1Tony C up at bat, so tall and handsome with that beautiful, black, curly hair and the prettiest smile I ever saw.

I was a Red Sox fan before Tony C, and I remain one today, but for me he will always embody what I love about baseball.  The opportunity for a kid to make it big, become infamous and make an impact on people’s lives.  I’ll never forget him and neither will Red Sox Nation.

(While I’m here, I want to direct people to the Conigliaro website where you can join the movement to have Tony C’s number 25 retired.  Mike Lowell, one of my current Red Sox favorites (and 1999 recipient of the Tony Conigliaro Award, is now wearing 25 and has stated he would happily give it up if the Sox retire it.  So let the Red Sox hear it!)

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