Bill Conlin became a familiar face to national sports fans through his appearances on ESPN’s pre-spastic-Bayless-era opinion show The Sports Reporters (which occasionally featured sober, interesting conversation when Mike Lupica wasn’t hogging the whole thing). Conlin had a great crusty-old-time sportswriter thing going and sometimes he would get really fired up and wave his coffee cup around, and that was cool. He was entertaining to watch and listen to.
What wasn’t cool about Conlin: Later in life he became accused of sexually abusing children and was forced to resign from the Philadelphia Daily News. Conlin passed away Thursday with his name still uncleared and his legacy forever tarnished.
Before his TV stardom and book writing career, Conlin rose to prominence as a Phillies beat writer with the Daily News, becoming a columnist in 1987. In 2011 Conlin was given the J.G. Taylor Spink Award by the baseball Hall of Fame. Even though people with bad things on their resumes are supposed to be kept out of the Hall of Fame.
“At a time before the Internet and sports-only TV channels, Bill Conlin’s coverage in the Daily News was the primary source of information and analysis for a generation of Phillies fans,” said Daily News managing editor Pat McLoone in acknowledgement of Conlin. Imagine, one writer being the main source of information on a whole team. Wow. Dark ages.
Bill Conlin was 79.