PHILADELPHIA — Former Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter and columnist Bill Conlin, whose long career came to an end following multiple allegations of child abuse, has died. He was 79.
The Hall of Fame baseball writer and author died Thursday in Largo, the Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Conlin’s son, Pete, confirmed his father’s death in a text message, NJ.com said.
Conlin retired in 2011 following allegations that he had abused four children decades ago. Three other accusers later came forward. Authorities said no criminal charges would be pursued because the alleged abuse occurred so long ago.
Conlin died in the Largo Medical Center, to which he had been admitted with multiple illnesses, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and a colon infection, the Daily News reported.
Conlin kept a home in Pinellas County for years while covering the Philadelphia Phillies, who train each spring in Clearwater.
Conlin worked at the newspaper for more than four decades, starting in 1965 and becoming the beat writer for the Phillies the next year. He held that job for 21 years and became a columnist in 1987. He also was a commentator on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters” and wrote two baseball-related books, the “Rutledge Book of Baseball” and “Batting Cleanup, Bill Conlin.”
He received the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award presented at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and is honored in the hall’s “Scribes and Mikemen” exhibit.
Daily News managing editor Pat McLoone acknowledged that Conlin’s career ended in disgrace but called his writing “often brilliant.”
“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,” he said.