Bill Conlin, whose professional career has covered half a century during which he distinguished himself as a reporter, author and television commentator with an emphasis on baseball, was elected the 2011 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s induction weekend July 22-25 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Conlin received 188 votes from the 434 ballots cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service. He became the 62nd winner of the award since its inception in 1962, when the award was named for its first recipient. Spink was a driving force of The Sporting News, known during his lifetime as the “Baseball Bible.”
Bob Elliott, whose writing career is considered strongly influential in the growing popularity of baseball in Canada, received 160 votes. Joe Giuliotti, who for 30 years in Boston was a voracious reporter on all matters concerning the Red Sox, got 83. Three blank ballots were among those submitted.
The candidates were selected by a three-member, BBWAA-appointed committee and announced at the All-Star Game meeting July 14 in Anaheim, Calif. Voting was conducted in November through a mail ballot, a process that began in 2002.
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Conlin returned to the city of his birth to attend Temple University, where he won the Sigma Delta Chi Award as Outstanding Graduate in Journalism in 1960. He practiced his trade first at the Evening Bulletin and since 1965 at the Daily News.
Bill was the Phillies beat writer from 1966-86 and for a good portion of that time was also the National League columnist for The Sporting News. Conlin maintained his focus on baseball after becoming sports columnist in 1987 and has covered 43 spring trainings and 38 major league postseasons. He also covered numerous major golf, tennis and boxing events as well as several Olympics.
Conlin’s published works include Rutledge Book of Baseball and Batting Cleanup, Bill Conlin. He was a regular panelist on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters,” appearing on more than 300 shows, and a contributor on a variety of radio programs.
His many honors include induction into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame; Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association; First Prize in 1979 E.P. Dutton Best Sports Stories, News Story (The Ghost of Clemente) and multiple Keystone Press Awards for column writing.