Just a year ago, this story might have seemed destined for the Onion. What a difference a year (and surgery, and hard work, and a World Series title) can make.
Red Sox starter John Lackey has been voted as the winner of the 24th Tony Conigliaro Award, given to a player who has "overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage" that were trademarks of the former Red Sox outfielder.
Lackey missed the 2012 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery but came back strong and had his best season in a Red Sox uniform. He was second on the team with 189.1 innings pitched and seventh in the AL with a strikeout-to-walk ratio over 4.0 (161 SO/40 BB). Pitching (through injury for much of the season) in 2011, Lackey finished with a 6.41 ERA in 28 starts.
Lackey's teammate Jon Lester won the award in 2007 after fighting back from cancer to eventually help the Red Sox win the World Series that season.
Members of the Conigliaro family will present the award at the 75th Boston Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s annual dinner on January 23 at the Westin Copley Place in Boston. Major League teams submit nominations and an independent 12-person panel votes for a winner.