BOSTON -- Bobby Valentine was wearing the No. 25 at his introductory press conference Thursday, which conjured memories of Mike Lowell for most Red Sox fans. But those of a certain age recalled a more distant hero.
And that's who Valentine is honoring. He says he's wearing No. 25 for the late Tony Conigliaro, whose career was cut short by a 1967 beaning and who died in 1990 at the age of 45 after suffering a debilitating heart attack eight years earlier.
I had such admiration for him, Valentine said. We both got beaned. We talked about -- I never was able to really talk to someone about that, when that ball slows down right there pointing to a space in front of his left eye right before the impact. And its a lousy conversation but I was able to talk to him about it, and it was a bonding kind of thing."
So when he saw No. 25 was available . . .
"I called Mike Lowell. I should have called Billy Conigliaro -- and I couldnt get his number real quickly -- and the family, because I know that a lot of people wanted to retire it in his honor. And I would gladly put it up on that wall rather than on my back.
"But I think its a great number to wear."
Friday's practice participation/injury report for Monday night's Patriots-Ravens game:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder)
DB Jordan Richards (knee)
LB Elandon Roberts (hamstring)
DB Eric Rowe (hamstring)
WR/SpT Matthew Slater (foot)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Crockett Gilmore (thigh)
LB Terrell Suggs (not injury related)
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh)
C Jeremy Zuttah (not injury related)
G Alex Lewis (ankle)
G Marshal Yanda (shoulder)
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.