Daniel Bard third Colorado Rockies pitcher to win Tony Conigliaro Award
For the third time in the last 16 years, a Colorado Rockies pitcher has been named as the winner of the Tony Conigliaro Award.
On Monday, Colorado Rockies reliever Daniel Bard was named as the 2020 recipient of the Tony Conigliaro Award. The award is given annually to a Major League Baseball player who overcomes a major or life-altering obstacle and thrives after the adversity.
The award is named for Tony Conigliaro, who played for the Boston Red Sox from 1964-67 and again from 1969-70 and 1975. After being hit in the face by a Jack Hamilton fastball on August 18, 1967, Conigliaro missed the entire 1968 season trying to come back from the devastating injury. He would return in 1969, battling through headaches and vision issues caused by the Hamilton beaning, but would hit 20 home runs that season and put together a 36-homer, 116-RBI season in 1970.
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Voting for the award was conducted by a 15-person committee comprised of media members, Major League Baseball executives, Red Sox officials, and Conigliaro’s brothers, Richie and Billy.
"“From my days playing in Boston, I remember how special this award is,” Bard said in a release. “Not only because of Tony’s story and the incredible obstacles he had to overcome, but I also remember the list of names of all the great players who have won previously. I am grateful to those who voted for me and to the New England baseball community for their support over the years. I am honored to be chosen as this year’s recipient.”"
Bard returned to the Major League mound with the Rockies last season after last pitching for the Red Sox in 2013. Forced to leave the game because of the yips, Bard took over the closer role for Colorado and earned six saves with a 3.65 ERA, 3.64 FIP, and 1.297 WHIP. He also gave a nod to his comeback every time he took the mound in Denver with his entrance song.
The 35-year-old Bard recently avoided arbitration with the Rockies, signing a one-year deal reportedly worth $2.925 million.
Bard joins former Rockies pitchers Chad Bettis (2017, return from testicular cancer) and Aaron Cook (2005, overcoming blood clots in his lungs) as Tony Conigliaro Award winners. Only one other team (Boston with Jon Lester in 2007 and John Lackey in 2013) has had multiple pitchers win the award since Cook earned the honor in 2005.