Ralston “Rollie” Hemsley - An Unforeseen Challenge to the A.A. Principle of Anonymity

The Year

1940

April 16th

Ralston “Rollie” Hemsley - An Unforeseen Challenge to the A.A. Principle of Anonymity

A star catcher for the Cleveland Indians, described by the press as “rollicking” because of his heavy drinking, announces that he has achieved sobriety through his year-long membership in Alcoholics Anonymous. His name and face are splashed over sports pages nationwide. Such violation of the Fellowship’s principle of anonymity leads Bill and members everywhere to consider anonymity’s pros and cons.
 
Ralston “Rollie” Hemsley
 In a Chicago hotel news conference of April 16, 1940 Rollie Hemsley, erratic star catcher for the Cleveland Indians baseball team, announced that his past eccentric behavior on and off the diamond had been due to “booze,” that he was an alcoholic who had been dry now for one year “with the help of and through Alcoholics Anonymous.” (Not-God, p. 85) Newspaper stories about this event were sensational and they brought in many new prospects. Nevertheless this development was one of the first to arouse deep concern about our personal anonymity at the top public level. (AA Comes of Age, pp. 24-5)


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