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Tony Cloninger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tony Cloninger
Tony Cloninger 1962.png
Cloninger in 1962.
Born: (1940-08-13)August 13, 1940
Cherryville, North Carolina
Died: July 24, 2018(2018-07-24) (aged 77)
Denver, North Carolina
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 15, 1961, for the Milwaukee Braves
Last MLB appearance
July 22, 1972, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Win–loss record113–97
Earned run average4.07
As player
As coach
Career highlights and awards

Tony Lee Cloninger (August 13, 1940 – July 24, 2018) was an American professional baseball player and coach. He played in Major League Baseball as a right-handed pitcher from 1961 through 1972 for the Milwaukee / Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Playing career

A power pitcher, Cloninger compiled a career 113–97 record with 1,120 strikeouts and a 4.07 ERA in 1,767​23 innings pitched. He enjoyed his best year for the 1965 Braves, with career highs in wins (24), strikeouts (211), ERA (3.29), complete games (16), innings (279) and games started (40).

Regarded as a tough fireball pitcher, Cloninger also was a dangerous power hitter. He compiled a career batting average of .192, with 67 RBIs and 11 home runs, including five in the 1966 season.

On July 3, 1966, in the Braves' 17–3 win over the Giants at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Cloninger helped his team's cause with two grand slams and nine RBIs, both of which still stand as Braves franchise single-game bests.[1] Cloninger became the first player in the National League, and remains the only pitcher, to hit two grand slams in the same game. Cloninger used a bat of teammate Denis Menke to hit both of those big home runs, and they stood as the only two grand slams of his major league career.[2]

Cloninger finished his career pitching with Cincinnati and St. Louis. He was acquired along with Clay Carroll and Woody Woodward by the Reds from the Atlanta Braves for Milt Pappas, Bob Johnson and Ted Davidson on June 11, 1968.[3]

Coaching career

After retiring, Cloninger served as a bullpen coach for the New York Yankees (1992–2001), where he was a member of five American League champions and four World Series champion teams.

In 2002, he became the pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox, but was forced to step down in early 2003 when he underwent successful treatment for bladder cancer that had been diagnosed in spring training.[4] In 2004, Cloninger became a player development consultant for the Red Sox, serving for almost 15 consecutive seasons until his death.

As Red Sox pitching coach, Cloninger was ejected from a game in 2002 against the Baltimore Orioles. After two batters were hit by pitches, fights broke out and benches cleared. At one point, Cloninger, age 61 at the time but not shying away from trouble, grabbed Orioles player Brook Fordyce in a headlock.[5][6][7]


Cloninger died on July 24, 2018, in Denver, North Carolina at the age of 77.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Single Game Records - Atlanta Braves". Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  2. ^ "Tony Cloninger Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  3. ^ "Pappas Traded in Big Deal for Atlanta Pitcher," The Cincinnati Enquirer, Wednesday, June 12, 1968. Retrieved April 30, 2020
  4. ^ Whisnant, Gabe, '"Cloninger Reflects on Tenure with Steinbrenner's Yankees", The Shelby Star, July 16, 2010Archived July 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Christensen, Joe (July 29, 2002). "O's, Red Sox clear benches, but not the air". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  6. ^ "MLB Photo Gallery". Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  7. ^ "Orioles, Red Sox empty benches". YouTube. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  8. ^ Walker, Richard (July 26, 2018). "Local athletic icon Tony Cloninger dies at 77". Retrieved July 27, 2018.

External links

Preceded by
Marc Hill
New York Yankees bullpen coach
Succeeded by
Tom Nieto
Preceded by
Ralph Treuel
Boston Red Sox pitching coach
Succeeded by
Dave Wallace
This page was last edited on 3 November 2020, at 01:15
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