In this September 2014 photo, former Boston Red Sox outfielder Billy Conigliaro, brother of Red Sox outfielder Tony Conigliaro, throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park in Boston. Billy Conigliaro, the first Red Sox draft pick, died on Wednesday at age 73. Charles Krupa/Associated Press, file

BOSTON — Billy Conigliaro, the first Red Sox draft pick who started out in the Boston outfield with star-crossed brother Tony and later spent years taking care of him after a heart attack, died Wednesday. He was 73.

Conigliaro’s family told the team he died at home in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Though he wound up winning a World Series ring with Oakland in 1973, Billy always remained a part of New England lore, forever connected by his local roots and the tragic events surrounding his older brother, powerful slugger Tony C.

Born less than 10 miles from Fenway Park in Revere, Billy C. was 19 when he was chosen fifth overall out of Swampscott High School in Major League Baseball’s inaugural amateur draft in 1965.

Conigliaro made his big league debut as a pinch runner in April 1969, the same month his brother returned from a beaning that quickly derailed his All-Star career.

Five days later, in his first start, Billy hit two home runs in Boston. He also connected the next day, but homered just once more that season.


His best season was in 1970, when he played 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.

Overall, Conigliaro played 247 games for the Red Sox through 1971, was sent to Milwaukee in a 10-team trade and abruptly retired during the 1972 season. He returned in 1973 and played three games in the World Series as the A’s beat the Mets.

A knee injury ended Conigliaro’s career after that season. He hit a career .256 with 40 home runs and 128 RBI in 347 games.

Conigliaro played his first two big league seasons with his brother. Tony was an enormous star for a franchise that hadn’t won the World Series since 1918 – local, popular and talented.

Tony Conigliaro debuted for Boston in 1964 at 19 and won the AL home run title the next year. A month after batting ahead of Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski in the 1967 All-Star Game, and with Boston in the midst of its “Impossible Dream” season, Conigliaro was hit in the cheekbone by a fastball from the Angels’ Jack Hamilton.

Conigliaro suffered extensive injuries, including permanent damage to his left eye.


Almost 20 months later, Conigliaro returned to the majors. Despite limited eyesight, he hit 20 homers in 1969 and put up 36 home runs and 116 RBI for the Red Sox in 1970 alongside his brother.

Tony C. played a half-season with the Angels in 1971. He was out of baseball for three years before trying a comeback with Boston in 1975, batting .123 in 21 games.

Tony was working a sportscaster in San Francisco when he auditioned for a job as a broadcaster with the Red Sox. By all indications, he was set to get the job when he suffered a heart attack while Billy was driving him to the airport in Boston.

Tony later had a stroke and was in a coma. Billy devoted much of his life to caring for him until his brother’s death in 1990 at 45, then worked longer to preserve Tony C.’s legacy.

For the past 31 years, Billy had served on the committee for the Tony Conigliaro Award, given annually by the Red Sox to a major league player 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.


WHITE SOX: Former Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds manager Jerry Narron was hired by the Chicago White Sox as a major league instructor on Manager Tony La Russa’s staff.

Narron was 291-341 over parts of five seasons managing Texas (2001-02) and Cincinnati (2005-07). The 65-year-old has spent 26 years on major league coaching staffs, including a stint in 2020 as the Boston Red Sox’s bench coach.

Narron was with Milwaukee from 2011-15, when catcher Jonathan Lucroy had some of his most productive seasons. The two-time All-Star agreed to a minor league deal with the White Sox last week after playing in just one game for Boston in 2020.

A catcher, Narron played parts of eight seasons with the New York Yankees (1979), Seattle Mariners (1980-81, ’87) and California Angels (1983-86).

YANKEES: Side-arming reliever Darren O’Day is guaranteed $3.15 million in his contract with the New York Yankees, which has both player and team options for 2022.

The 38-year-old right-hander gets $1.75 million this year in the deal. The contract includes a $1.4 million player option for 2022 and, if he declines his option, the Yankees would decide on a $3.15 million team option with a $700,000 buyout.


O’Day takes the spot vacated when the Yankees traded right-hander Adam Ottavino to Boston, a move that cut $7.15 million from New York’s payroll. O’Day figures to join left-hander Zack Britton and right-hander Chad Green as the primary setup men for closer Aroldis Chapman.

Right-hander Ben Heller was designated for assignment to open a roster spot.

RANGERS: Free agent former All-Star right-hander Mike Foltynewicz signed a $2 million, one-year contract with the Texas Rangers.

Outfielder Adolis Garcia was designated for assignment to make room on their roster.

Foltynewicz made only one start for Atlanta last season, allowing six runs in 3 1/3 innings in a loss at Tampa Bay. The 29-year-old pitcher spent the rest of the season in the Braves’ alternate training site.

Before that, Foltynewicz was 40-34 in 103 games for the Braves from 2016-19. His best season was his All-Star year in 2018, when he was 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts.


PHILLIES: The Phillies have agreed to minor league contracts with right-hander Brandon Kintzler and outfielder Matt Joyce, inviting both to big league spring training as non-roster players.

• Shortstop Didi Gregorius and the Phillies finalized a $28 million, two-year contract.

Gregorius, who turns 31 next week, batted .284 with 10 homers, 40 RBI and an .827 OPS in 60 games in his first season with the Phillies.

TIGERS: The Detroit Tigers agreed to minor league deals with infielders Renato Nunez and Greg Garcia.

The Tigers said both players will receive invites to major league spring training. Nunez hit 31 home runs for Baltimore in 2019, then batted .256 with 12 homers in the shortened 2020 season.

Nunez, 26, was released by the Orioles after last season.


Garcia hit .200 in 35 games last year for San Diego. That was his second season with the Padres after he spent five with St. Louis.

ATHLETICS: Jed Lowrie is returning to the Oakland Athletics for a third stint, with the infielder reaching agreement on a minor league contract that includes an invitation to big league spring training.

Lowrie has played five seasons total for Oakland, in 2013-14 as starting shortstop on playoff teams and again from 2016-18 as a regular second baseman following a trade from AL West rival Houston in November 2015 following one year with the Astros.

A switch-hitter with a career .261 batting average, Lowie was limited the past two years by knee injuries and played only nine games in 2019 for the New York Mets and none last year. He has not played the field since 2018.

Lowrie spent the first four years of his big league career, from 2008-11, with the Red Sox.

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