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1960s / Tony Conigliaro
Hard-luck ballplayer Tony Conigliaro of the Boston Red Sox was featured on the cover of this issue of Sports Illustrated from July 1970. Conigliaro was the favorite to win the American League's Rookie of the Year award in 1964, but he broke his arm in August. In 1965, at age 20, he led the AL in home runs with 32. Two years later, on Auugst 18, 1967, Conigliaro was hit in the face with a fastball thrown by Jack Hamilton of the Angels. The pitch broke Conigliaro's cheekbone and damaged his left retina. (The effects are shown in the SI cover photo.) The injury was so devastating that Conigliaro missed the entire 1968 season. He had good seasons in both 1969 and 1970, but lingering eye problems from his 1967 injury caused him to retire in 1971. Conigliaro attempted a brief comeback in 1975 only to retire again. In 1982, at age 37, he suffered a severe heart attack. Conigliaro was virtually in a vegetive state until his death in 1990 at age 45.