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Tony Lee Cloninger (August 13, 1940 – July 24, 2018) was an American baseball player who played in Major League Baseball as a starting pitcher for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves (1961–68), the Cincinnati Reds (1968–71), and the St. Louis Cardinals (1972). He batted and threw right-handed.

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


Playing careerEdit

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; as of 2019, this stands as the Braves' franchise record for RBI in a game.[1] Cloninger became the first player in the National League, and the only pitcher to date, to hit two grand slams in the same game.

Cloninger used a bat of teammate Denis Menke to hit both of these big home runs.

Cloninger finished his career pitching with Cincinnati and St. Louis.

Coaching careerEdit

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, and pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox (2002 through early 2003). He was forced to step down from the latter post when he underwent successful treatment for bladder cancer, which had been diagnosed in spring training.[2] In 2004, Cloninger became a player development consultant for the Red Sox, serving for almost 15 consecutive seasons until his death.


Cloninger died on July 24, 2018, in Denver, North Carolina at the age of 77.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Battery's history-making slams boost Giants".
  2. ^ Whisnant, Gabe, '"Cloninger Reflects on Tenure with Steinbrenner's Yankees", The Shelby Star, July 16, 2010Archived July 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Walker, Richard (July 26, 2018). "Local athletic icon Tony Cloninger dies at 77". Retrieved July 27, 2018.

External linksEdit

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