Ramos has persevered through significant adversity in his life while continuing to impress with his play on the field and his character off it. The Venezuelan catcher endured a harrowing kidnapping in his home country in November 2011, and has since worked to push past the ordeal both physically and mentally. In the three years since, Ramos has also worked to rehab a torn ACL in his right knee, a broken hamate bone in his left hand, and multiple hamstring strains. He continues to return to his home country in the offseason.
Despite this adversity, the 27-year-old continues to solidify himself as one of the best young catchers in the National League. In parts of five major league seasons between the Minnesota Twins (2010) and Nationals (2010-14), the right-handed batter has hit .269 with a .432 slugging percentage while guiding Washington's pitching staff, which in 2014 posted the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in MLB history (3.7 SO/BB). Last season, he threw out 16 of 46 attempted base stealers (34.8%), and he owns the second-best catchers' ERA (3.39) among active backstops with at least 300 games behind the plate.
In 1990, the Tony Conigliaro Award was created by longtime Red Sox executive Dick Bresciani, who passed away in November 2014, to perpetuate the memory of Tony C. Tony had died that February following an eight-year struggle to come back from a massive heart attack that left him severely handicapped.
Ramos received 24 points in the voting while Reds left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman and Orioles right-handed pitcher Miguel Gonzalez each had 20. Right-handed pitcher Colby Lewis (Rangers), catchers Yonder Alonso (Padres) and Roberto Perez (Indians), and bench coach Dave Roberts (Padres) also received votes.
Past winners include: Jim Eisenreich (1990), Dickie Thon (1991), Jim Abbott (1992), Bo Jackson (1993), Mark Leiter (1994), Scott Radinsky (1995), Curtis Pride (1996), Eric Davis (1997), Bret Saberhagen (1998), Mike Lowell (1999), Kent Mercker and Tony Saunders (2000), Graeme Lloyd and Jason Johnson (2001), Jose Rijo (2002), Jim Mecir (2003), Dewon Brazelton (2004), Aaron Cook (2005), Freddy Sanchez (2006), Jon Lester (2007), Rocco Baldelli (2008), Chris Carpenter (2009), Joaquin Benoit (2010), Tony Campana (2011), R.A. Dickey (2012), and John Lackey (2013).
Tony C. became the youngest player (at age 20) to lead his league in home runs when he hit 32 in 1965, and the youngest in American League history to reach 100 homers (22 years, 197 days). His promising career was tragically cut short when he was hit in the face by a pitch at Fenway Park on August 18, 1967. He missed all of 1968, made an inspiring comeback in 1969, and was traded to the California Angels after the 1970 season. Tony played one year with the Angels and then made another comeback with the Red Sox in 1975, his final major league season.