Friday, July 22, 2011

Hall of Fame Weekend 2011– Pat Gillick and Bill Conlin

The official HOF promo poster

July 24th is Hall of Fame Day, the day when the halls of baseball open it’s door to new arrivals. This year, it’s more of an odd couple making it into the Hall. It’s Roberto Alomar on his second try and Bert Blyleven on his next to last try getting into the Hall of Fame. The Hall vote deserves some scrutiny though, as Dave Parker was allowed to drift away and not enter the Hall of Fame upon reaching his 15th try in getting in.

No disrespect to either Alomar or Blyleven for making it to the Hall, but I just think Parker deserved to be voted in and didn’t. Everyone can’t make it to the Hall but I thing that some of the process needs to be better examined and not to include certain players is a shame for fans of the game.

Parker to me is a Hall of Fame player. He personified the great hitter and power hitter of the late 70’s and early to mid-80’s and into the early 90’s like no one else. His numbers are astounding and to think he never made it to the Hall is something short of miscalculation. Even on his Baseball-Reference page, Parker’s most similar batters by his type of hitting were Hall of Famers, including Tony Perez, Billy Williams, and Andre Dawson. Parker was the MVP in 1979 of the league and the numbers he put up that year were astounding, he had 215 H, 44 2B, 88 RBI, and batted .338 on the season. In 1985 at age 34, Parker had 42 2B, and 125 RBI on the season. Why isn’t Parker in the Hall, that is the question?

Philly connections to the Hall of Fame 2011

Local connections are made with the Hall of Fame inductees this year. Pat Gillick is a well deserved addition to the Hall. He has made an impact on baseball that has been positive and did his job with a bit of class, which is the way it ought to be. Gillick has the connection of being the current Phillies senior advisor, and has spent 50 years in the MLB. He is just the 32nd Executive to be elected into the Hall of Fame. To list all of his accomplishments would take a lot longer than this blog can devote itself to, but here is some of them right from the Hall of Fame inductee fact sheet:

Gillick, who built playoff teams with the Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners and Phillies, began his major league career with the Houston Colt .45s/Astros from 1963-73, before joining the New York Yankees as scouting director from 1974-76. Gillick joined the expansion Toronto Blue Jays in 1977, building five division winners from 1985-93 and consecutive World Series championships in 1992-93. In three seasons with Baltimore from 1996-98, the Orioles made two postseason appearances. In four seasons shaping the Mariners from 2000-2003, the Mariners won 90 games each season, including an American League record 116 in 2001, with two postseason appearances. In building the Phillies from 2006-2008, Philadelphia won the NL East twice and the 2008 World Series. Beginning in 1983, teams under Gillick's direction as general manager posted winning records in 20 of 22 seasons.

The Hall of Fame honors the writer Bill Conlin from Philadelphia this year

1970 Phillies press  Here is a page from the 1970 Phillies yearbook, with a ‘Who’s who’ of early 70’s Philadelphia media with the Phillies. Conlin started out in the mid 1960’s as a writer for the Philadelphia Daily news. (He isn’t pictured on this page) Thanks to Roger for sending this to the blog!

  Another local connection to the area and the Hall of Fame would be baseball wrconlin.bill_iter, Bill Conlin. Conlin hasn’t always been the most popular of sportswriters in terms of people agreeing with him, but he’s been writing about the game for a long time, and has earned the respect of his peers and baseball itself. Recently, Conlin has written about baseball since the early days of b.c. (before computers) and the ‘age of information’ that we live in today. He’s kind of a throwback that really made you want to buy a newspaper just to read what he had to say, whether you agreed with him or not.

Phillies 1971 yearbook writers

The Phillies Press beat writers in the early 1970’s – I see many writers here with Conlin that went on to make a great impact on readers.  Thanks to Roger for this again!

Here is the press release by the Hall of Fame with Bill Conlin’s selection to the Hall of Fame and how he got there:
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.

Conlin paid his dues and now will be forever enshrined in the Baseball Writers section of the Hall. Here is the info on Conlin’s induction ceremonies:
Bill Conlin, Roland Hemond and Dave Van Horne have each been honored with awards symbolizing their professional excellence. And on Saturday, July 23 in Cooperstown, their legacies will be celebrated at the inaugural Hall of Fame Awards Presentation at Doubleday Field.
The Hall of Fame Awards Presentation will be held at 4:30 p.m. on July 23 at Doubleday Field and will feature the presentation of the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting to Van Horne, the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing to Conlin and the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award to Hemond, as well as the performance of singer/songwriter Terry Cashman on the 30th anniversary of his baseball classic, Talkin' Baseball.
The Awards Presentation is free and open to the public and will feature the appearance of more than four dozen returning Hall of Famers on the Doubleday Field stage, along with acceptance speeches by the award winners as well as video tributes to the honorees.

  Conlin has battled bloggers unmercifully in the past couple of years, he’s beyond the stage of understanding the nature of blogging in itself, and doesn’t acknowledge that these type of writers are anyone that matter when it comes to writing about baseball. Of course Conlin was really wrong about that, but I don’t personally hold anything against him as he deserves an amount of respect for his writing and I’ll give him just that. Writers have people that agree with them, and another side of an audience that totally disagrees with them sometimes but at least they had something to say and that is the kind of guy I remember Conlin being when he was writing for the newspapers.

Going to the Hall of Fame ceremonies this weekend?

Visitors to Cooperstown for the 2011 Induction Weekend, including the Saturday, July 23 Awards Presentation and the Sunday, July 24 Induction Ceremony, are advised to utilize several parking and transportation options in an effort to alleviate potential delays and traffic problems.

Visiting the Hall of Fame for me has been awesome, I need a couple of days to take it all in, and you can’t even really do that on just one trip. It’s somewhere that every serious fan of the game should visit at least once. If you just can’t make it to the Hall of Fame in person, don’t worry there are plenty of great things online to make your Hall of Fame experience a great one! Start here in the ‘Plaque Gallery’ Hall online!

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