The Red Sox mourn the loss of Billy Conigliaro, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 73. The former outfielder appeared in 347 Major League games — including 247 with the Red Sox from 1969-71 — and won a World Series title with the Oakland A’s in 1973.
Born in Revere, MA, on August 15, 1947, Conigliaro graduated in 1965 from Swampscott High School. That summer, the Red Sox selected him with the fifth overall pick in Major League Baseball’s inaugural First-Year Player Draft. He made his major league debut in 1969 and hit two home runs in his first career start, a home game against the Baltimore Orioles on April 16.
In 1970, Conigliaro appeared in 114 games and batted .271 with 18 home runs and 58 RBI. The following season, he added 26 doubles and 11 home runs in 101 games with Boston. Conigliaro then spent one season with the Milwaukee Brewers (1972) and one with the A’s (1973), earning the starting center field job for Oakland out of spring training. He missed much of the season due to a right knee injury but battled back to earn a spot on the A’s postseason roster, with his outstanding defense helping Oakland win the World Series. Conigliaro underwent a knee operation after the 1973 season, the last of his playing career.
In 1969 and 1970, Conigliaro was Red Sox teammates with his older brother, Tony, as the two often played in the same outfield. After Tony suffered a heart attack in January 1982, Billy devoted much of his life to caring for his brother until he passed away in February 1990. For 31 years from 1990-2020, Billy helped to keep his brother’s legacy alive by serving on the committee for the Tony Conigliaro Award, an annual honor given to a “Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C.”
Billy Conigliaro is survived by his wife, Keisha.