May 15, 1934|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||January 9, 2014
Largo, Florida, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Irma S. Conlin (1960–2009; her death)|
William T. Conlin, Jr. (May 15, 1934 – January 9, 2014) was an American sportswriter. He was a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News for 46 years. Prior to that, Conlin worked at the Philadelphia Bulletin. He was a member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Conlin received the J. G. Taylor Spink Award in 2011.
Conlin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in Brooklyn, New York City. While in school, he was a champion swimmer. He attended Peekskill Military Academy on an athletic scholarship, worked as a lifeguard in the 1950s, and was inducted into the Ocean Rowing Hall of Fame in 1983.
Conlin was a 1961 graduate of Temple University, where he was an editor-in-chief for The Temple University News. Before being hired by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin in June 1960, he received the Sword Award for service to Temple University. After five years at the Evening Bulletin, he joined the Philadelphia Daily News in 1965. He appeared on more than 300 editions of ESPN's The Sports Reporters, a Sunday morning show of debate among American newspaper columnists. In 2009, he was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.
Conlin's sportswriting has been praised for its wit and intelligence. Fellow columnist Mitch Albom wrote, "For years, sitting next to him on The Sports Reporters, all I got from Bill Conlin was the spit of his opinions in my ear. His writing is far less messy. It's also brash, charming, intelligent, historical, and at times almost elegant."
Conlin drew criticism for failing to include pitcher Nolan Ryan on his Hall of Fame ballot. Conlin explained in a follow-up column that he was attempting to make an ill-advised point supporting pitcher Don Sutton, who had the same number of victories as Ryan.
In May 2006, Conlin conducted what he called an interview with the ghost of former President Calvin Coolidge. Coolidge warned him of a young Barack Obama who would bring catastrophe to the country. This interview drew criticism of Conlin from the mainstream media.
Allegations of child molestation
On December 20, 2011, Conlin resigned from his sportswriting position just hours prior to the publication of allegations of child molestation. One of Conlin's accusers was his niece, Kelley Blanchet, a prosecutor in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The claims of abuse were first reported to the police in 2009 when Blanchet said she became concerned for the safety of Conlin's other young relatives. Three more people later claimed they had been abused by Conlin.
The Baseball Writers Association secretary/treasurer Jack O’Connell issued a "member in good standing" statement on December 20. It said in part, "The allegations have no bearing on [Conlin's] winning the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which was in recognition of his notable career as a baseball writer".
The day before the story broke, Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio reported he had an email conversation with Conlin in which Conlin talked about suicide and criticized his accusers and Inquirer reporter Nancy Phillips. According to Daulerio, Conlin's attorney, George Bochetto, called Daulerio in the afternoon and requested him not to post the story and said Conlin denied emailing Daulerio. The story was posted, and about three hours later the Inquirer posted its story.
Conlin died on January 9, 2014, in the Largo Medical Center in Largo, Florida, to which he had been admitted with multiple illnesses, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and a colon infection.
- The Rutledge Book of Baseball (1981), ISBN 0-8317-7596-3
- Batting Cleanup, Bill Conlin, a collection of Conlin's sportswriting, edited by Kevin Kerrane, foreword by Dick Schaap. Temple University Press (1997), ISBN 1-56639-541-0 (Baseball in America series, edited by Rich Westcott)
- Morrison, John F. "Irma Conlin, 72, real estate agent & wife of sports columnist". Philadelphia Enquirer. September 14, 2009.
- "Bill Conlin". Philly.com Sports. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- "Longtime Philadelphia Writer Bill Conlin Honored". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- "Special Section: Conlin enters Baseball Hall". Philly.com. Philadelphia Media Network. July 23, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
- Conlin, Bill (1997). Batting Cleanup, Bill Conlin. Temple University Press. p. xiv.
- "Bill Conlin bio box". philly.com. July 21, 2011; retrieved December 20, 2011.
- "Bill Conlin, controversial sports writer, dead at 79.". CSNPHILLY.COM. January 9, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
- quoted in: Bill Conlin (edited by Kevin Kerrane, foreword by Dick Schaap). "Batting Cleanup". Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- "The time Bill Conlin didn't give his Hall vote to Nolan Ryan". blitzcorner.com. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- Henry, David. "The Short List". amarillo.com. July 18, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- Neyer, Rob. "Bill Conlin, Philadelphia Baseball Writer, Accused Of Child Molestation". mlb.sbnation.com. December 20, 2011; retrieved December 20, 2011.
- e-mail exchange, Crashburn Alley
- Nancy Phillips (December 20, 2011). "Four say Philly Daily News writer Bill Conlin sexually abused them as children". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- Conlin, Bill. "'Tough' guys are talking about Sandusky". philly.com. November 11, 2011; retrieved December 20, 2011.
- Phillips, Nancy. "Another woman comes forward over abuse by Bill Conlin". philly.com. December 21, 2011; retrieved December 22, 2011.
- "6th person alleges sportswriter abused her". UPI.com. UPI. December 22, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
- "Seventh victim tells of Conlin abuse". Philly.com. Philadelphia Media Network. December 23, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
- "Official statement", BBWAA webpage, December 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
- Daulerio, A.J., "A Conversation With Bill Conlin The Day Before The Inquirer Dropped Its Molestation Story", deadspin.com, December 21, 2011.
- Morrison, John F. (January 9, 2014). "Bill Conlin, Daily News sports columnist whose career ended in disgrace, dies at 79.". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- "Baseball in America". temple.edu.