Mitch Harris pitches for the St. Louis Cardinals. But he was in Boston last week to receive the Tony Conigliaro award, given by the Red Sox at the Boston baseball writers dinner to someone who exemplified the determination, grace and will with which Tony C. dealt with adversity in his all-too-short life. We think after you hear about Mitch Harris, you’ll be glad we shared his story, and you’ll perhaps understand why Richie Conigliaro, Tony’s brother, was in tears when he presented Harris with his award, and a banquet hall full of people were moved to rise to their feet.
Unlike most recipients of the Tony C. award, Harris did not face a physical challenge he had to overcome. His test was of another sort, one that he elected to take on voluntarily, despite an awareness of the near-impossible odds he was facing. Mitch Harris burned with the desire to play big-league baseball, and had the talent to do so. But as a member of the Naval Academy, he had embraced another calling, one he renewed after his sophomore year. Midshipman Harris had the option after two years at the Academy to walk away. Instead, he signed a 2-7 commitment: two more years in the academy, five years of service as an office in the Navy.Bravo Zulu. This brings to mind what Ted Williams and Bob Feller did.
Hat tip: Chris Lynch, who also has a video of Archer as Magnum P.I. Awesome.