Everyone loves a comeback story. In 2010, Joaquin Benoit’s story was unparalleled.
After a moderately successful career in Texas, Benoit tore his rotator cuff in January of 2009 and went on to miss the entire 2009 season.
Before the beginning of the 2010 season, the Tampa Bay Rays signed him to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Although he didn’t make the initial cut, he was called up on April 29 to help stabilize the Rays' bullpen. He quickly established himself as the team’s setup man and finished the year leading all American League relievers, with a career-best 1.34 ERA.
Benoit recently cashed in on his big season, signing a three-year, $16 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.
The Tony Conigliaro Award honors athletes who have overcome adversity through attributes of spirit, determination and courage — all trademarks of the Red Sox legend.
The Red Sox began the award in 1990 when Tony C passed away due to a massive heart attack he suffered eight years earlier. The award immortalizes Conigliaro’s name and values.
Benoit edged out many worthy candidates, including Jed Lowrie, Bobby Cramer and Arthur Rhodes.
He joins Mike Lowell, Jon Lester, Freddy Sanchez, Rocco Baldelli and Chris Carpenter, among others, as recipients of the award.