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Monday, December 26, 2011

Neyer: What’s To Be Done With Bill Conlin?

One old sparky chair comes to mind! Picks up torch and pitchfork (sees Bon Iver won year-ender…throws away in disgust)...

But what if we discover that one of the players in the actual Hall of Fame did something far more abhorrent than using steroids or testosterone? Say, murder. Would the Hall of Fame seriously consider removing that player? I honestly don’t know.

Of course, time plays a role here. Conlin just won the Spink Award. In the display in the Museum, he’s featured. If Conlin were dead, or if he’d won the award 10 years ago, this whole sordid affair might be a three-day story. But now? With Conlin still around? With an extra-big photo of him in the Museum? With Jerry Sandusky still running free?

Right now, everything is so raw. If given a chance, I suppose I would split the difference. I would not rescind Conlin’s Spink Award, but I would hasten to make him less visible in Cooperstown. We’ve got a new winner: Bob Elliott. Maybe it’s as easy as making him the center piece of the exhibit a few months earlier than scheduled.

Or maybe Conlin should simply be defrocked. I don’t have the answer yet. I do anticipate a spirited discussion. Which will be more than welcome.

Repoz Posted: December 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, business, hall of fame, history, media, television

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. LargeBill Posted: December 26, 2011 at 02:21 PM (#4023470)
This Spink thing is clearly different from enshrinement in the Hall of Fame for performance on the field. Is there anyone who doubts that if the allegations against Conlin had happened prior to his selection they would have found some other writer to recognize? As far as a Hall of Fame caliber player with serious, reprehensible criminal involvement? If it comes up after enshrinement, well done is done. If it come to light prior to election I think we can be sure the character clause will be all the rage. I'd have no problem with Conlin being removed from the list of Spink award winners, but once you go taking awards away you open the door for a lot more of that. With Conlin there are enough allegations that we may be convinced of guilt. However, once you take action to remove him what if an allegation comes up against another writer or even HoF player? Will we say hold on those allegations don't meet our stringent standards of certainty? Bottom line: I think all the HoF museum can do is just downplay the current recipient. If anyone asks they can just say the winners are selected by the BBWAA all we do is display the results of their decision go talk to them.
   2. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 26, 2011 at 02:30 PM (#4023472)
Or maybe Conlin should simply be defrocked.

Ugh. Nobody wants to see that.
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 26, 2011 at 05:01 PM (#4023518)
He'll never be the darling of the so-called "City Fathers" who cluck their tongues, stroke their beards, and talk about "What's to be done with this Bill Conlin?"
   4. Tripon Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:17 PM (#4023593)
We can shoot Bill Conlin out of a cannon for one thing.
   5. Eric in Madison Posted: December 26, 2011 at 07:59 PM (#4023611)
We can shoot Bill Conlin out of a cannon for one thing.

I don't know about you, but my cannon isn't nearly big enough.
   6. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 26, 2011 at 08:27 PM (#4023626)
I don't know about you, but my cannon isn't nearly big enough.

Let's find out if the Mythbusters can make a cannon out of cardboard powerful enough to shoot Conlin into space.
   7. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 26, 2011 at 08:51 PM (#4023638)
We can shoot Bill Conlin out of a cannon for one thing.


Like at the Flesh Fair in A.I.?
   8. Adam B. Posted: December 26, 2011 at 08:57 PM (#4023639)
There's still an OJ Simpson bust in Canton.
   9. PerroX Posted: December 26, 2011 at 09:08 PM (#4023641)
Top Ten Albums of 2011

Vote mommyeffers - but only if you are sure Justin Vernon has committed no crimes. I've already started engraving his image.
   10. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 26, 2011 at 09:09 PM (#4023643)
He should be forced to have sex with an adult female supermodel everyday for the rest of his life, two at a time on weekends.
   11. PerroX Posted: December 26, 2011 at 09:25 PM (#4023648)
If the BBWAA was like the Church, they'd just let Conlin ply his trade in another town.
   12. Darren Posted: December 26, 2011 at 09:33 PM (#4023652)
OJ was acquitted, though.
   13. base ball chick Posted: December 26, 2011 at 09:42 PM (#4023658)
what's to be done with bill conlin?

well, that all depends on whether or not you believe in justice or revenge. and seeing as how there won't be justice, that leaves revenge, seeing as how the raped/abused can't be "made whole" (what a silly lawyer phrase like a PERSON could be returned to their pre-raped condition.)

so really nothing more LEGAL can be done than what already HAS been done.

if you mean taking BBWAA awards away once they have already been given, i am not in favor of that. no matter WHAT the crime. i think that the pretending someone didn't exist/nothing ever happened is a bad thing.
   14. PerroX Posted: December 26, 2011 at 09:47 PM (#4023660)
I agree with that last point, Lisa. I think it's better to leave up the confederate monuments and the name of a town leader responsible for historic race riots on the biggest park. These historical realities still influence life here to this day and need to be remembered, however vaguely.

Rescinding Conlin's award would only be about making the BBWAA feel better about its collective self.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: December 26, 2011 at 10:32 PM (#4023671)
Rescinding Conlin's award would only be about making the BBWAA feel better about its collective self.

Is there some other purpose to the Spink Award?
   16. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 26, 2011 at 10:59 PM (#4023680)
Is there some other purpose to the Spink Award?


Not really. These people do love to give themselves awards.
   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 26, 2011 at 11:15 PM (#4023687)
Is there some other purpose to the Spink Award?

Think about it for ten seconds, Walt, and since you're not a stupid person, you'll realize what a stupid question that is. What's the purpose of the Hall of Fame? What's the purpose of any award that purports to honor excellence?

Of course there are writers who don't deserve the honor, Conlin being but one of them, and then there are players like Freddy Lindstrom and Jim Rice. And do you really think that the bloated world of corporate baseball we have today would survive for more than a few desperate months without all that free publicity?
   18. Tripon Posted: December 26, 2011 at 11:30 PM (#4023691)


Think about it for ten seconds, Walt, and since you're not a stupid person, you'll realize what a stupid question that is. What's the purpose of the Hall of Fame? What's the purpose of any award that purports to honor excellence?

Of course there are writers who don't deserve the honor, Conlin being but one of them, and then there are players like Freddy Lindstrom and Jim Rice. And do you really think that the bloated world of corporate baseball we have today would survive for more than a few desperate months without all that free publicity?


You could... actually vote them into the Hall of Fame.
   19. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 26, 2011 at 11:43 PM (#4023695)
Is there some other purpose to the Spink Award?

Think about it for ten seconds, Walt, and since you're not a stupid person, you'll realize what a stupid question that is. What's the purpose of the Hall of Fame? What's the purpose of any award that purports to honor excellence?


The difference is that with the Spink award, the writers are honoring themselves; but the players are not in charge of the Hall of Fame, and therefore, while they may be involved in the VC process, do not honor themselves.
   20. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 27, 2011 at 12:12 AM (#4023701)
The difference is that with the Spink award, the writers are honoring themselves; but the players are not in charge of the Hall of Fame, and therefore, while they may be involved in the VC process, do not honor themselves.

True, but that's more a question of methodology than purpose. Selecting the starting lineups for the All-Star game has the same purpose---honoring the "best" players at each position---regardless of whether the managers (1935-46), the fans (1933-34, 1947-57, and 1970 to date) or the players (1958-69) are doing the choosing. Same with the Spink Award, the purpose of which is to honor the "best" writers. Any method of voting for a subjective award is bound to be flawed, and all methods have given us more than a few dubious selections for both the All-Star game and the Spink award, but the fact that the writers are chosen by other writers isn't any particular mark against it.

And if the HoF voting were turned over to the players, you wouldn't either elevate or diminish the stature of the honor---you'd probably just wind up with a slightly different set of inductees and a slightly different set of complaints about ignorance and biases.
   21. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 27, 2011 at 12:13 AM (#4023705)
He should be forced to have sex with an adult female supermodel everyday for the rest of his life, two at a time on weekends.

What did the supermodel do to deserve that?
   22. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: December 27, 2011 at 12:35 AM (#4023711)
What did the supermodel do to deserve that?


She's a Yankee fan.
   23. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: December 27, 2011 at 12:37 AM (#4023713)
Think about it for ten seconds, Walt, and since you're not a stupid person, you'll realize what a stupid question that is. What's the purpose of the Hall of Fame? What's the purpose of any award that purports to honor excellence?

Of course there are writers who don't deserve the honor, Conlin being but one of them, and then there are players like Freddy Lindstrom and Jim Rice. And do you really think that the bloated world of corporate baseball we have today would survive for more than a few desperate months without all that free publicity?
Think about your response for ten seconds, and you'll realize what a stupid response that is.

Wait, the disclaimer doesn't apply here.

And for your future response: heh.
   24. bobm Posted: December 27, 2011 at 12:49 AM (#4023714)
What did the supermodel do to deserve that?
She's a Yankee fan.


... in possession of an autographed Derek Jeter ball ;-)
   25. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: December 27, 2011 at 12:52 AM (#4023716)
@ #22 Hahahahahaha
   26. I Remember When Posted: December 27, 2011 at 05:19 AM (#4023797)
Barring a lynching, seems a full list of accomplishments, good and bad, on the permanent plaque should be sufficient to do justice.
   27. Ron J Posted: December 27, 2011 at 06:06 AM (#4023802)
#26 There's about zero chance that the plaque would contain any reference to the allegations against Conlin. I realize you were probably joking, but I was thinking about some kind of asterisked plaque myself and couldn't figure out how it could work.

I wasn't concerned when the hockey HOF removed Gil Stein or Alan Eagleson and I honestly wouldn't care if baseball's removed Conlin's plaque (I'd prefer any action taken be after consultation with the BBWAA and that the BBWAA come up with a position on the matter before they talk with the hall). I'd prefer that they not deny the he won the Spink Award in the first place though.
   28. AndrewJ Posted: December 27, 2011 at 11:51 AM (#4023818)
There's still an OJ Simpson bust in Canton.


OJ was acquitted, though.

He was found liable in the civil suit, and is currently in prison for the Las Vegas robbery case (funny how we've kinda forgotten that over the last few years).

Other cases:

Phil Spector was convicted of murder in 2009, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame hasn't rescinded his enshrinement (he was inducted in 1989).

Villanova basketball moved to the du Pont Pavilion in 1986, named for benefactor John E. du Pont. A decade later he murdered Olympic wrestler David Schultz, and Villanova did remove du Pont's name from the arena.
   29. ray james Posted: December 27, 2011 at 02:01 PM (#4023828)
The difference is that with the Spink award, the writers are honoring themselves; but the players are not in charge of the Hall of Fame, and therefore, while they may be involved in the VC process, do not honor themselves.


With respect to Conlin, the time for honoring himself will soon be at an end. :)
   30. zonk Posted: December 27, 2011 at 02:31 PM (#4023834)
Phil Spector was convicted of murder in 2009, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame hasn't rescinded his enshrinement (he was inducted in 1989).

Villanova basketball moved to the du Pont Pavilion in 1986, named for benefactor John E. du Pont. A decade later he murdered Olympic wrestler David Schultz, and Villanova did remove du Pont's name from the arena.


But the key is that those guys were held to account by the legal system -- even OJ, I guess, if you toss in the civil trial.

It looks pretty certain that Conlin isn't going to be charged -- absent more recent allegations. Per the article on victim #7 -- even a civil claim can't happen.

I continue to believe that the BBWAA should rescind the award, and should do it loudly and publicly.


I'm sure Conlin values the award and the 'enshrinement' (such as it is). While I guess I'm on the jump to conclusions/bloodlust side of this - I completely and utterly reject any form of vigilante or mob justice.

The law has no recourse for holding Conlin to account at this point.

The BBWAA/HoF is in a unique position here to mete out a rather personalized form of punishment -- by taking something that Conlin values away from him.

It's got nothing to do with preserving the Spinks Award 'honor' or reputation of the HoF. It's solely about the fact that Conlin appears to have more or less gotten away with a horrific set of crimes and without the courts being available to hold him to account - the BBWAA/HoF can essentially say "Oh no you don't, jackass... "
   31. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 27, 2011 at 02:48 PM (#4023843)
The BBWAA/HoF is in a unique position here to mete out a rather personalized form of punishment -- by taking something that Conlin values away from him.

It's got nothing to do with preserving the Spinks Award 'honor' or reputation of the HoF. It's solely about the fact that Conlin appears to have more or less gotten away with a horrific set of crimes and without the courts being available to hold him to account - the BBWAA/HoF can essentially say "Oh no you don't, jackass... "


I don't agree that the BBWAA should be rescinding awards, for reasons I've spelled out before, but if it were to take back Conlin's, the reasoning you give here at least provides an honest and healthy rationalization.
   32. BDC Posted: December 27, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#4023847)
Phil Spector was convicted of murder in 2009

Wouldn't that just cement one's credentials for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? :)
   33. zonk Posted: December 27, 2011 at 03:08 PM (#4023853)

Wouldn't that just cement one's credentials for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? :)


Hasn't helped Courtney Love....
   34. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: December 27, 2011 at 03:35 PM (#4023865)
Villanova basketball moved to the du Pont Pavilion in 1986, named for benefactor John E. du Pont. A decade later he murdered Olympic wrestler David Schultz, and Villanova did remove du Pont's name from the arena.


I remember the Schultz brothers from the 1984 olympics. They were one set of brothers to win gold that year in freestyle wrestling. The Banach brothers from my home town of Port Jervis were the others. Weird what one remembers after 27 years....

Hasn't helped Courtney Love....


That's too good. I really hope she wasn't the culprit, though.
   35. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: December 27, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#4023866)
A quick reminder that Michelle Rhee--the poster child for Education Reform, married Kevin Johnson (yes that Kevin Johnson) who offered a kid's family $230,000 to cover up an assault at the charter school he was working at, and then was accused again a few short years later at a different school.

Rhee was assigned to resolve the situation. Which she did by threatening the family and the teacher witnesses into silence. (No whistleblower protections in charter schools.)

She has also recounted how she physically abused kids in her first year teaching as "a funny story" here.
The people laughing in the audience are Teach For America "teachers", who began teaching after 5 weeks of this kind of "training".

Now she's supposed the role model for no-nonsense tough love in education. So yes, Sandusky and Conlin are the "tip of the iceberg". Our nation's education reform push is being led by a child assault apologist.

EDIT: Fixed Link
   36. AndrewJ Posted: December 28, 2011 at 03:54 AM (#4024179)
Hasn't helped Courtney Love....



That's too good. I really hope she wasn't the culprit, though.

From what I've read, there was a history of mental illness and suicide in Kurt Cobain's family. He was at risk long before Courtney entered the picture.
   37. Steve Phillips' Hot Cougar (DrStankus) Posted: December 28, 2011 at 07:01 AM (#4024224)
@35

What the everlasting ####.

Has she no decency?
   38. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: December 29, 2011 at 11:59 PM (#4025487)
Pretty typical in the ed reform arena, but yeah, she's probably the worst.

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