Tony Conigliaro was living in Novato, California and working as a sportscaster. He applied for an opening to broadcast Boston Red Sox baseball for WSBK and flew into The Hub for an interview. It went very well. Billy Conigliaro was driving him to the airport on the morning of January 9, when Tony suffered a major heart attack.
He was bedridden for nearly eight years before finally expiring.
The first two games on the schedule were in Chicago, but both games were snowed out and the Red Sox actually returned to Winter Haven. They opened the year in Baltimore, splitting a pair on April 10 with the Orioles. The home opener brought the opportunity to play the White Sox, and their catcher Fisk was 2-for-3, driving in one run as Chicago beat Boston, 3-2.
On Mayday, the jersey bearing #9 appeared at Fenway for the first time since 1960, as 62-year-old Ted Williams played in the first-ever Red Sox Old Timers Game. Ted was the star of the game, not for his hitting but for his fielding, when he made a shoestring catch on a bloop hit off the bat of Mike Andrews. The crowd went wild, and the next day Ted’s catch featured in all the Boston papers – even though the Sox had scored twice in the bottom of the 12th coming from behind to beat the Texas Rangers, 6-5.
Two days later, on May 3, Dave Stapleton’s headfirst slide into home plate gave him an inside-the-park homer on a little fly ball to right field which hadn’t even gone 300 feet; the day’s win over the Twins saw the Sox at 16-7. It was the best start they’d had since the 1946 campaign.
Reading the daily standings throughout the year, Boston was in first place almost the whole time from the end of April until July 26, and as late as August 2. They
dipped a bit, but held onto second place through September 3. Dipping a bit more, they almost won 90 games, but finished one game short, 89-73, good enough for a third-place finish, six games behind Milwaukee.
Third baseman Carney Lansford had won the batting title in 1981, and hit .301 in 1982, but rookie Wade Boggs got in a lot of playing time, too, and he hit .349 in his 381 plate appearances, short of the number needed to qualify. In December, Lansford was traded to Oakland as part of a deal that secured Tony Armas for the Red Sox.
It was Dwight Evans again who led in two key stats, with 32 homers (to Rice’s 24) and 98 RBIs to Rice’s 97. Getting on base a little more than 40% of the time, Evans scored 122 runs, well above second-place Jerry Remy’s 89.
It was quite a bullpen. Fourteen wins for closer Mark Clear put him in Dick Radatz territory, a relief pitcher leading the team in wins. He was 14-9, with a 3.00 ERA. Bob Stanley was a closer, too, finishing 33 games to Clear’s 44. The Steamer was 12-7 with a 3.10 ERA. Tom Burgmeier was 7-0 (2.29) in 40 games.
As for the starters, Dennis Eckersley and John Tudor each won 13.By Bill Nowlin
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- Billy Conigliaro, Bob Stanley, Carlton Fisk, Carney Lansford, Dave Stapleton, Dennis Eckersley, Dick Radatz, Dwight Evans, Jerry Remy, Jim Rice, John Tudor, Mark Clear, Mike Andrews, Ted Williams, Tom Burgmeier, Tony Armas, Tony Conigliaro, Wade Boggs