Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway’s Remarkable First Year, written by Glenn Stout and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is the winner of the 2012 SABR Seymour Medal, which honors the best book of baseball history or biography published during the preceding calendar year.
Stout, the author of Red Sox Century, Yankees Century, Nine Months at Ground Zero and The Cubs: The Complete Story of Chicago Cubs Baseball among his more than 80 books, will receive his award at the banquet of the 19th annual NINE Spring Training conference, 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, 2012, at the Fiesta Resort Conference Center in Tempe, Arizona. Banquet tickets are $40.
The banquet includes the Seymour Medal ceremony, dinner and the NINE Keynote address by SABR member Rob Fitts, author of Banzai Babe Ruth, Wally Yonamine, and Remembering Japanese Baseball. To register for the NINE conference, visit nineregistration.com.
The Seymour Medal Selection Committee released the following statement about Stout’s Fenway 1912:
“This wonderful book celebrates the 100th anniversary of the opening of Fenway Park, and it contains a detailed account of the 1912 World Series. Stout has done unique research as he describes the construction of the ball park. It is by far the best description of ballpark construction that each of us has ever read. Stout provides an overview of the regular season and the impact the new ballpark had on playing conditions during that season. The reader gets a real sense of how baseball was played in Boston 100 years ago.”
Stout was a finalist for the Seymour Medal in 2001 for Red Sox Century: One Hundred Years of Red Sox Baseball, which he co-authored with Dick Johnson. He also wrote the biography of Denny Galehouse for SABR’s Baseball Biography Project book Spahn, Sain, and Teddy Ballgame: Boston’s (almost) Perfect Baseball Summer of 1948, published in 2008.
“I’m totally thrilled,” Stout said of winning the Seymour Medal. “I’m surprised, happy, gratified, honored, every word you can think of. I’m not fibbing when I said (in the book) that Fenway is the reason I came to Boston. … It was my entree to all things Boston.
“Most histories of a ballpark end up being histories of a team, and I wanted to avoid that. I was also very aware of not over-romanticizing the place. … It’s almost an accident that Fenway still exists. If anyone had considered it a special place in 1912, it wouldn’t have been preserved at all. It would have fallen down. But one of the reasons it still exists is because they kept on changing it when they needed to.”
The other finalists for the 2012 Seymour Medal were:
- Campy: The Two Lives of Roy Campanella, by Neil Lanctot (Simon & Schuster)
- Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game, by John Thorn (Simon & Schuster)
The Seymour Medal Selection Committee also released the following statements about the other finalists:
- On Lanctot’s Campy: “Finishing second was Neil Lanctot’s brilliant biography of Roy Campanella. It provides a rich look at one of the less appreciated figures in baseball’s racial integration. The affable Campanella’s relationship with the firebrand Jackie Robinson is a highlight of Lanctot’s biographical research and writing. Previous Seymour winner Lanctot has given us another professionally excellent work.”
- On Thorn’s Baseball in the Garden of Eden: “In third place was John Thorn’s exceptional Baseball in the Garden of Eden. John provides a significant contribution to our understanding of how the game evolved into the national pastime. He puts to rest the legends of Abner Doubleday and Alexander Cartwright and unearths individuals who would be given major credit for the origins of what we know as baseball today. He also provides a real description of 19th century society and its impact on the sport. Thorn also gives us a greater understanding of the business of baseball over 100 years ago.”
The Seymour Medal, named in honor of Dr. Harold Seymour and Mrs. Dorothy (Seymour) Mills, was first awarded by SABR in 1996. To be considered for the medal, a work must be the product of original research or analysis. The winning book shall significantly advance our knowledge of baseball and shall be characterized by understanding, factual accuracy, profound insight and distinguished writing.
To see a list of previous Seymour Medal winners, click here.
Hosted by NINE: A Journal of Baseball History & Culture, the NINE Spring Training conference promotes the study of all historical aspects of baseball and centers on the cultural implications of the game wherever in the world baseball is played. The NINE conference will take place March 7-10, 2012, at the Fiesta Resort Conference Center, 2100 South Priest Drive in Tempe, Arizona. Conference registration is $205.
Originally published: January 30, 2012. Last Updated: April 4, 2022.