Lackey named winner of Tony Conigliaro Award
Red Sox righty overcame Tommy John surgery with strong 2013, World Series title
BOSTON -- John Lackey, who had a stirring comeback season that culminated with a win in the clinching Game 6 of the World Series, has been voted the winner of the annual Tony Conigliaro Award, presented each year to a Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity.
For Lackey, the adversity was a health issue. He didn't throw a pitch in 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The righty came back strong for the Red Sox in '13, going 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA in 29 starts.
Not only did Lackey beat the Cardinals in the final baseball game played in 2013, but he fired a gem to outduel Justin Verlander, 1-0, in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
It was a strong rebound from Lackey's 2011 season, when he tried to pitch through elbow discomfort and weakness and went 12-12 with a 6.41 ERA in 29 starts.
Members of the Conigliaro family will present the award at the 75th annual Boston Baseball Writers Dinner, which will be held at the Westin Copley Place in Boston on Jan. 23, 2014.
Major League teams submit nominations and a 12-person panel conducts the voting. With 35 points, Lackey edged out Brandon McCarthy (33 points). Marlins rookie righty Jose Fernandez finished third with 17 points. Scott Kazmir and Victor Martinez also received votes.
Past winners include: Jim Eisenreich (1990), Dickie Thon ('91), Jim Abbott ('92), Bo Jackson ('93), Mark Leiter ('94), Scott Radinsky ('95), Curtis Pride ('96), Eric Davis ('97), Bret Saberhagen ('98), Mike Lowell ('99), Kent Mercker and Tony Saunders (2000), Graeme Lloyd and Jason Johnson ('01), Jose Rijo ('02), Jim Mecir ('03), Dewon Brazelton ('04), Aaron Cook ('05), Freddy Sanchez ('06), Jon Lester ('07), Rocco Baldelli ('08), Chris Carpenter ('09), Joaquin Benoit ('10), Tony Campana ('11) and R.A. Dickey ('12).
The late Conigliaro's promising career was cut short when he was hit by a pitch on Aug. 18, 1967. He attempted several comebacks, the last of which came in 1975.
Conigliaro, a native of Swampscott, Mass., who played most of his career with his hometown Red Sox, died in 1990.