Carpenter named '09 Conigliaro winner
Cardinals pitcher returned to elite form after batting injuries
BOSTON -- In past years, Chris Carpenter has been honored at the Boston Baseball Writers Dinner for his greatness on the mound, twice being named as the New England Player of the Year. On Thursday, Carpenter will receive an accolade that consists of far more than wins and strikeouts, being named as the winner of the 20th annual Tony Conigliaro Award.
The award is presented each year to a Major League player who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage.
Carpenter won't be at the dinner. Former Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette will receive the award from Conigliaro's brothers -- Billy and Richie -- on Carpenter's behalf.
A New Hampshire native, the Cardinals right-hander overcame a barrage of injuries to regain his prominence as one of the finest pitchers in the National League.
In 28 starts during the 2009 season, Carpenter went 17-4 with a 2.28 ERA in 28 starts, finishing second in the NL Cy Young Award race.
This, after he missed most of the 2007 and '08 seasons while recuperating from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and subsequent nerve ailments in his throwing arm. Before the '09 season, Carpenter opted not to have surgery to repair a nerve issue in his right shoulder that would have required more rehab.
That decision wound up paying big dividends for Carpenter, who was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year.
The Red Sox started the Tony Conigliaro Award in 1990 when Conigliaro died that February, following an eight-year struggle to come back from a major heart attack that left him severely handicapped. Major League teams submit nominations for the award and an independent 12-person panel does the voting.
The past winners are as follows: 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), and Rocco Baldelli ('08).
This year's Boston Baseball Writers Dinner will be held at the Westin-Waterfront hotel in South Boston. Tickets are still available for $150 by sending a check to Boston Chapter-BBWAA, PO Box 7346, Nashua NH, 03060.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.