It was fairly common that when I went to eat at Villa Gallace restaurant during spring training in Clearwater, Fla., I would run into Bill Conlin, the baseball columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Long before I joined the Philadelphia Phillies as a player with a team he covered very closely, I would know his work, his name. He spared no one from his wide-ranging critiques. Luckily, I was exempted from his harshest words in part because I happened to be his late wife’s favorite player.
So when I heard about the allegations against him — that he molested a group of young girls and a boy (including his niece who came forward over the holidays) — I was certainly appalled and caught off guard. A controversy is now brewing about whether his award for journalistic excellence given to him by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011 should be revoked and Conlin stripped of his place in Cooperstown. Character matters, it is argued, and I agree. Yet as it pertains to the award, it isn’t that simple.