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August 25, 2017     Post-Gazette
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August 25, 2017

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POST-GAZETI'E, AUGUST 25, 2017 PAGE 11 9 by Sal Giarratani REMEMBERING OUR RED 50 Years Ago and a Dream Denied Brothers Tony and Billy Conigliaro Last Thursday, I attended a celebration at Tony C's Sports Bar & Grill, around the corner from Fenway Park at the old Jerry Remy's place, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Impossible Dream when the Red Sox took us all on a wild ride by getting to Game 7 Of the World Series. Also, it was a time to remember Tony Conigliaro, who almost died at home plate from a pitch that struck his face and damaged an eye. Billy and Keisha Conigliaro Billy Conigllaro with cousins Mark and Matt Martelli For a young Italian-American baseball fan, Tony C was a big deal. He was from here and was one of us. The other night, all those faded dreams came back to life as I remembered 50 years ago and the cruel fate that prevented such a talented baseball player from accomplishing what many thought would be a Joe Di Maggio-like career. of the crowd was living that Dream again and wondered where their youth went. Then, we all stopped and thought about Tony C and all that he meant to this crowd made up of .a large contingent of Italian-Americans from the other side of the tunnels and bridge where Conigliaro's legend still lives on. I remember his stats: First homer in first at-bat in 1964 George Thomas who played the infield or the '67 Sox with Sal Giarratani (Photo by Kristin Smith} Cayla Conigliaro and Sarah Germanos I attended the celebration at Tony C's Sports Bar and Grill, where Sox fans gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Impossible Dream and all the what-ifs of Tony Conigliaro. He survived that night but was never the same and left us 27 years ago at age 45. That, too, I remember well. The restaurant gathering, with a great view of Fenway Park, seemed like two events morphed into one. Most Stand-up guy Johnny Pizzi from Giggles with Richie Conigliaro George Thomas, '67 Sox player (center} with the Thomas Family # I Fan Club that took the Sox to October Baseball, but sad ones abou}: the fate of Tony C. Where have the years gone? I sure-don't miss all those losing seasons from the late '50s and '60s. I feel sorry for today's young fans who can't understan, d why my generation of fans cheers our Sox so much today. We've been there in bad times and appreciate so much the success of our hometown team today where we take winning for granted. I lived the flip side of that tune as a kid from the South End and Roxbury, where tickets were real cheap but victories rare. Also, for a brief moment in baseball history, we had Tony Conigliaro at bat and in the field bringing us thrills like we never saw before. Like I said, he was one of us. We were part of that dream, too. Finally~when are the, Boston Red Sox going to retire Number 25 and put Conig into the Red Sox Hall of Fame? Do it soon! Harmonica Virtuoso James lontgomery at 19 years old. Twenty for that season! Next year, at age 20, he topped the American League with 32 homeruns. He was the youngest player in baseball, at age 22, to hit 100 homeruns tx 1966. He was a player of ~stiny. Reminded folks of Joe Di Maggio, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams all rolled up into one. We all talked about what might have been but never happened. Amazingly, even with his eye damage, he came back in 1969 and hit another 56 homers before retiring with the Angels~ So many mixed feelings about that 1967 season. Happy ones about that inner drive the Red Sox players had under the helm of new manager Dick Williams, himself only in his late 30s, Taste of the North End 14th ANNUAL BOCCE TOURNAMENT To raise funds for scholarships and the North End Community Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 10 AM LANGONE BOCCE COURTS, Commercial Street (North End) Yes, I would like to participate in the Bocce Tournament which includes entry fee, tournament tee shirt, Joe Pace Cookout. Please indicate the number of: TEAMS $100.00 per team (2 people per team) or $50.00 per player Spectator and Dinner at $25.00 per person PLAYER NAME PLAYER NAME Address City or Town Phone Email Please circleshirtsize M L XL XXL Make Checks Payable to Taste of the North End and mail to 1~ P.O. Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113 I v-day.- _- ='U For further information please contact I li : J 78 7" ' I Chairman - Donato Frattaroli, dfrattaroli @ gmail, com Sal Giarratani with Rico Petrocelli For events going on in Massachusetts this SUMMER, call the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Web sb at www.massvacation;com. ;jb