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Royals pitcher Jose Cuas named 2022 Tony Conigliaro Award winner

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The Boston Red Sox announced today that Kansas City Royals pitcher Jose Cuas has been named the 2022 Tony Conigliaro Award winner.

The Red Sox have recognized a Tony Conigliaro Award winner for every year since 1990 in memory of the former Red Sox outfielder, whose career was tragically shortened by a beanball in 1967 and whose life ended in 1990 at the age of 45. It is awarded to a “Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C.”

Voting was conducted by a 14-person committee comprised of media members, Major League Baseball executives, Red Sox officials, and Conigliaro’s brother, Rich.

“I am extremely honored to receive this award,” Cuas said. “This accomplishment is a significant milestone in my life. To see my name mentioned next to Tony Conigliaro is truly a blessing.”

Cuas, 28, made his Major League debut with Kansas City in 2022 and went 4-2 with a 3.58 ERA (15 ER in 37.2 IP) in 47 appearances. He was selected as an infielder by Milwaukee in the 11th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft but was released in 2018, shortly after making the transition to pitcher. He signed in 2019 with Arizona but was released again in 2020. In June 2021, Kansas City extended a minor league contract to Cuas, who was pitching for the Long Island Ducks of the Independent Atlantic League and working as a driver for FedEx.

Cuas tied for 4th among Royals in appearances in his 2022 debut season, despite not making his debut until May 31. He specialized in escaping tough jams and stranded 30 of the 38 runners he inherited for a 78.9% strand rate, which ranked 7th in the Majors among pitchers who inherited at least 35 runners.

Cuas is the second Royal to win the Tony Conigliaro Award, following pitcher Jim Eisenreich, who battled Tourette syndrome before earning the inaugural Tony Conigliaro Award in 1990.

Tony Conigliaro Background:

A native of Swampscott, Mass., Tony Conigliaro hit a home run in his first at-bat at Fenway Park in 1964 at only 19 years old. A year later, he became the youngest player to lead his league in home runs when he hit 32 in 1965. He also became the youngest American League player to reach 100 home runs when he hit No. 100 at 22 years and 197 days old. Conigliaro’s early promise of greatness went unfulfilled after he was struck in the face by a pitch on Aug. 18, 1967. The pitch fractured his left cheekbone, dislocated his jaw, and severely damaged the retina in his left eye. He missed all of the 1968 season, but returned to play two more years in Boston, hitting a career-high 36 home runs for the Sox in 1970, when he also drove in 116 runs. He was traded after the season to the Angels, but declining vision led him to announce his retirement in 1971. Conigliaro suffered a massive heart attack in 1982 and died eight years later at the age of 45.

Tony Conigliaro Award recipients:

2022—Jose Cuas, Royals

2021—Trey Mancini, Orioles

2020—Daniel Bard, Rockies

2019—Rich Hill, Dodgers

2018—Stephen Piscotty, Athletics

2017—Chad Bettis, Rockies

2016—Yangervis Solarte, Padres

2015—Mitch Harris, Cardinals

2014—Wilson Ramos, Nationals

2013—John Lackey, Red Sox

2012—R.A. Dickey, Mets

2011—Tony Campana, Cubs

2010—Joaquin Benoit, Rays

2009—Chris Carpenter, Cardinals

2008—Rocco Baldelli, Rays

2007—Jon Lester, Red Sox

2006—Freddy Sanchez, Pirates

2005—Aaron Cook, Rockies

2004—Dewon Brazelton, Rays

2003—Jim Mecir, Athletics

2002—Jose Rijo, Reds

2001—Jason Johnson, Orioles; Graeme Lloyd, Expos

2000—Kent Mercker, Angels; Tony Saunders, Marlins

1999—Mike Lowell, Marlins

1998—Bret Saberhagen, Red Sox

1997—Eric Davis, Orioles

1996—Curtis Pride, Tigers

1995—Scott Radinsky, White Sox

1994—Mark Leiter, Angels

1993—Bo Jackson, White Sox

1992—Jim Abbott, Angels

1991—Dickie Thon, Phillies

1990—Jim Eisenreich, Royals

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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