"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
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."
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."
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."
His first pitch came in tight. I jumped back and my helmet flew off. There was this tremendous ringing noise. I couldn't stand it. Just a loud shriek all over me. I was trying to find some place in my mouth where I could get air through, but I couldn't breathe. I kept saying to myself, "Oh, God, let me breathe." I didn't think about my future in baseball. I just wanted to stay alive.
[If] I could vibrantly relive something – or even experience something immortal right before the moment of my own demise - the scene I would like to be magically transmitted to in the end would not show some miraculous Red Sox team finally securing a World Series championship in the future. No. I would venture back to the early summer of 1967 – before the smoke bomb and Jack Hamilton. I would be sitting next to Daddy, alive again, watching the game that served as a bridge for both of us as long as he was on earth.
I would open my eyes and look up at the scoreboard in left – it’s the bottom of the first inning and my father and I are huddled together, sitting in our crowded seats behind the Sox dugout. Tony Conigliaro is swinging a few weighted bats in the on-deck circle. As he approaches home plate - healthy, brisk, and eager - public address announcer, Sherm Feller, blares out, “Now batting fourth, number 25, Tony Conigliaro, right field, Conigliaro.” The crowd begins to rhythmically clap around us, and we reflexively join in the refrain as well.
Tony settles into his familiar stance, his bat cocked, his coffee eyes staring out assertively at the pitcher. A fastball is tossed at the catcher’s tattered glove. As soon as the sphere is delivered, Conig’s vigorous eyes become wide ovals as the ball whistles towards the strike zone. He swings with the panache of a bullfighter; his bat strikes the red numbers on his back as he completes his stroke. In less than a second, Dad and I quickly rise from our blue seats as the white ball make its way towards Lansdowne Street. In the last moment of my life, all would be finally right with the world. #