St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter has been unanimously voted the winner of the 20th annual Tony Conigliaro Award, which is presented to a Major League player who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage.
Carpenter will be presented with the award by Conigliaro's brothers, Billy and Richie, at the 71st Boston Baseball Writers' Association of America annual dinner on Thursday, Jan. 14, at the Westin Waterfront Hotel in South Boston.
The award began in 1990 to perpetuate the memory of Conigliaro, who died that February after an eight-year struggle to come back from a massive heart attack that left him severely handicapped. Major League teams submit nominations and an independent 12-person panel votes for the winner.
Carpenter missed most of the 2007 and 2008 seasons while recuperating from Tommy John surgery and subsequent nerve ailments in his throwing arm. Before 2009, he declined to have surgery to repair a nerve issue in his right shoulder that would have required more rehab. The New Hampshire native went on to lead the National League with a 2.24 ERA, going 17-4 in 28 starts. He was also named the NL Comeback Player of the Year for the second time in his career.
Conigliaro became the youngest player (20) to lead his league in home runs when he hit 32 in 1965, and the youngest in American League history to reach 100 homers (22 years, 197 days). His promising career was tragically shortened when he was hit in the face by a pitch at Fenway Park on Aug. 18, 1967. He missed all of the 1968 season, made a dramatic comeback in 1969 and was traded to the California Angels after the 1970 season. Tony played two years with the Angels and then made another comeback with the Red Sox in 1975, his final season in the league.
Tickets for the dinner are $150 and available by sending a check to Boston Chapter-BBWAA, PO Box 7346, Nashua NH, 03060.