When Daniel Bard's control deserted him, it didn't look like he'd ever pitch in the majors again, let alone win any awards.
But the former Red Sox reliever is doing both. His comeback with the Rockies was one of the best stories of the 2020 MLB season, and now the 35-year-old has followed up his Comeback Player of the Year award with even more accolades.
On Monday, Bard was selected as this year's recipient of the Tony Conigliaro Award, presented annually to “a Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C.”
That description definitely applies to Bard, whose promising career with the Red Sox quickly went downhill after emerging as one of the team's top relievers from 2009-2011. After the Sox designated him for assignment in late 2013, he bounced around between several organizations, racking up a 24.23 ERA with 46 walks in 13 innings in the minors. Bard retired in 2017, but he bounced back in a big way in Colorado this past season, going 4-2 with six saves and a 3.65 ERA in 23 appearances.
“From my days playing in Boston, I remember how special this award is,” Bard said. “Not only because of Tony’s story and the incredible obstacles he had to overcome, but I also remember the list of names of all the great players who have won previously. I am grateful to those who voted for me and to the New England baseball community for their support over the years. I am honored to be chosen as this year’s recipient.”
The Tony Conigliaro Award has been handed out every year since 1990, and this year's voting was conducted by a 15-person committee comprised of media members, Major League Baseball executives, Red Sox officials, and Conigliaro’s brothers, Richie and Billy.
Bard isn't the first former Red Sox player to win the award. He joins others such as Rich Hill (2019), John Lackey (2013), Rocco Baldelli (2008), Jon Lester (2007), Freddy Sanchez (2006), Kent Mercker (2000), Mike Lowell (1999), Bret Saberhagen (1998), Curtis Pride (1996)