Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tony C's comeback game

In the 4th inning of an August 18, 1967 game, Boston RF Tony Conigliaro was struck in the eye by a Jack Hamilton pitch. Conigliaro was having, what would have been, his best pro season on a team that would eventually find it's way into a 7 game World Series defeat.

Not for a season and a half later would Tony C play in a Major League Baseball game. His first game back would be Opening Day 1969 in Baltimore. Until now, I had not seen any footage of this game. What we have, though, is color broadcast footage thanks to MLB Network.

All footage comes from a 15 second clip of MLB Network's 50 Most Memorable Opening Acts, a show about Opening Day performances. In the clip is the 1969 Opening Day game.

The game would go into the 10th inning, which is where it appears we pick up here. In the 10th of this game, Tony C hit a HR, to give the Red Sox a brief lead. The game would be tied again and eventually won in the 12th.

More than likely what we are seeing here is news footage from a local station either in Boston or Baltimore. First, we see Tony C stepping into the box in what has the look of broadcast footage.

The clips of the ball in flight appear to be from something much grainer and less 'broadcast' polished, as if it was MLB Film footage. It could also be recorded footage for the news broadcast as opposed to the other clips being from the actual game broadcast.

It cuts back to a much better frame quality and rate of Tony C touching home. You can see George Scott waiting to hit after him.

Keeping in the broadcast footage, we see postgame handshakes of the pitcher coming off the field. Here is the interesting part. The footage shows a pitcher with #30 coming off the field. The number belongs to Jose Santiago according to Baseball Jose Santiago, who might not even be the guy pictured, didn't pitch for the 1969 Red Sox until August.

Also in the mix is #1. One would think that it would be Billy Conigliaro, who wore that number ath the start of the 1969 season. However, the player is African American, which would lead you to believe it is Joe Azcue. Azcue didn't join the team until April 23rd and was traded by the beginning of June.

In all honesty, I have absolutely no idea what this is a clip of. The final parts of the clip are dark, which even though the game went 12 innings, it also only went 3 hours and 40 some minutes which would leave it at around 6 pm. Early in the year, it is possible to be that dark.

What I am also seeing is that Tony C stepping to the plate appears to have blue seats in the background, like those you'd see at Yankee Stadium. He has longer sleeves, which he doesn't have when he touches home. If I had to bet, I'd wager that the footage of him coming to bat is that from April 14, 1967 and Billy Rohr's near no-hitter (which I have seen footage of). Either way, I'm thoroughly confused. The only real broadcast footage which I believe is Tony C from Opening Day is him touching homeplate.


  1. It is likely that, in the absence of footage from that opening day game, that MLB "constructed" thier own moment using footage from multiple games. The game shown in the final screen grab is not opening day 1969. Unless final clip was taken from a 1968 game where Santiago had 3 complete games at home, the pitcher #30 cannot be Santiago, who in both 1969 and 1970 recorded no victories and only one save, which came at KC in 1970. This pitcher is wearing home unis, as proven by the font style of the uni# on #32 and the pinstripe on the collar of #1. The other clips are clearly road games. Clips 1, 3, and 4 are clearly different games. In last shot, the #1 player, who is clearly african-american, is not Joe Azcue, who was white, could be Luis Alvarado. Alvarado played only a few games in Sept of '69, and 59 games in the '70 season, so clip could have been taken from a 1970 game, with the pitcher #30-- which then couldnt be Santiago-- still requiring identification. The last clip is a home game, as the other pics are clearly on the road. The pitcher who walked off the field on opening day '69 was Juan Pizarro, but the #30 does not appear to be him (but the pics shown are different games anyway). I do not believe that the final pic is from 1969 or 1970.. I believe it is from 1968!! We should check on the uni # worn by regular 3rd baseman Joe Foy.. perhaps Foy wore #1, although Alvarado was also on the team for 11 games. (if Foy was not #1, then he was #5, if G Scott wore #15 in '68?)
    So here is who I think we have in this 1968 screen frame: Santiago #30, #1 either Foy or Alvarado, the catcher strongly resembles Russ Gibson (not Oliver or E Howard),and the capless player on the right, with single digit #, looks like Petrocelli.
    Santiago's 3 complete games from 1968 were 4/18 where Foy and Petro finished the game but Oliver catched; 5/2 where Foy, Petro, and Gibson all finished the game; and 6/7 where Foy, Petro, and Elston Howard (african-american) finished the game. Therefore, IMO, this game must be 5/2/68, and MLB cheated in recreating this Tony C moment.

  2. Just great to see any Tony C. video! Wish there were more of it, of course.
    And I agree, this is all over the place.
    A couple of observations:
    1) I do seem to recall the Orioles outfielder leaning up against the fence after Tony C. homered, but I’ll look at a DVD I have to make sure. I’m also fairly sure that the video I saw of the homer was from the high-behind-home-plate angle when he actually hit it, so that might be why they spliced in the "Yankee Stadium" shot. That also shows Tony closer-up, obviously.
    2) I also seem to recall the game being in the afternoon, and the grab of Tony touching home plate to me seems to be from a night game...maybe 1967? But I’m not positive on that.
    3) One thing I would like to offer up is that in the final grab, the hatless guy on the right to me looks like No. 2, Mike Andrews. Mike had a distinctive head of hair, and to me that "gait" looks more like his.

  3. An addendum to that last post:
    I just thought of this, and maybe the head Kinescope Steals Home honcho can speak to it, but if that top Tony C. grab is indeed a snippet from the live broadcast of the Billy Rohr near no-hitter, DO WE THINK THAT GAME MIGHT BE AVAILABLE SOMEWHERE????

  4. Couple of things:

    -The video at the beginning IS from Yankee Stadium, however Memorial Stadium DID have blue seats.
    -the 'film' looking part of the ball in flight and Byrd against CF wall is the only actually footage from the Tony C comeback game.
    -there is footage of the Billy Rohr near no-hitter but whether the whole game exists is anyone's guess.

  5. I have 28 min and 33 sec of this game on DVD Great Quality