Bill Pennington receives 2016 SABR Seymour Medal at NINE Conference banquet

2016 Seymour Medal winner Bill Pennington, author of Billy Martin: Baseball’s Flawed Genius, accepted his award at the banquet of the 23rd annual NINE Spring Training Conference on Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Tempe, Arizona.

“This is a great honor,” said Pennington, a veteran reporter who covered the New York Yankees during Martin’s final years as manager. “I feel like I’ve been walking around with this book for 30 years or more. When I first met him, I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve never met anyone like this guy.’ He did so many interesting things and he was so complex. … Thirty years have passed, and I still have never met anyone like that.”

The Seymour Medal honors the best book of baseball history or biography published during the preceding calendar year. Pennington’s Billy Martin biography was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The Seymour Medal, named in honor of Dr. Harold Seymour and Mrs. Dorothy (Seymour) Mills, was first awarded by SABR in 1996.

“I had a lot of help in a lot of different ways,” Pennington said. “One of those was the benefit of doing this kind of research now as opposed to 30 years ago. If I was reading a newspaper clipping … I could go to Retrosheet and look it up, and there it was. Everything was explained to me and I can verify whether the news clips were right or not. It’s almost not a fair fight, in terms of doing research. … Baseball research has advanced so much. I was able to ride on the shoulders of all those who have done the work before me, so I have to certainly give credit to them as well.”

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.

A highlight of the 23rd annual NINE Conference was keynote speaker Rob Edelman, a SABR member and the author of Great Baseball Films and Baseball on the Web who teaches film history at the University at Albany. There was also a special film screening of Hano! A Century in the Bleachers with filmmaker Jon Leonoudakis and writer Arnold Hano.

Research presentations at the NINE Conference included “Marvin Miller Takes on Topps, Inc.” by Mark Armour; “Violet Popovich, the Chicago Cubs, and the Shooting of Billy Jurges” by Jack Bales; “Dunkin Donuts, Big Papi, and the Image of the Afro-Latin Baseball Star” by Roberta Newman; “When the Beer Vendors Fly South for the Spring” by Charlie Vascellaro; and “The West Coast Baseball Association” by Amy Essington.

Originally published: March 18, 2016. Last Updated: March 18, 2016.