Intentional Balk: Baseball’s Thin Line between Innovation and Cheating, written by Daniel R. Levitt and Mark Armour and published by Clyde Hill Publishing, is the winner of the 2023 Dr. Harold and Dorothy Seymour Medal, which honors the best book of baseball history or biography published during the preceding calendar year.
Levitt and Armour received their award during the 30th annual NINE Spring Training Conference on Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Tempe, Arizona. To learn more about the NINE conference, visit nineconference.com.
The Seymour Medal Selection Committee of Jan Finkel (chair), Lisa Alexander, and Elena Elms released the following statement:
Through extensive research from a wide variety of sources, high-caliber writing, and a healthy dose of humor, Levitt and Armour show that baseball from its beginnings has had so many inventive minds that one may combine the multitude of ways of innovation and cheating into a philosophy that they formally name “The Hornsby Doctrine: Baseball players and others within the game will and should find ways to bend and break the rules. It is the job of the authorities to stop them.” It all adds up to excellent reading.
Levitt is the Treasurer of SABR, co-chair of SABR’s Business of Baseball committee, and past president of the Halsey Hall Chapter in Minnesota. He received the Bob Davids Award in 2015 and the Henry Chadwick Award in 2017.
Armour is the President of SABR’s Board of Directors and founder of the SABR Baseball Biography Project. He was the recipient of the Bob Davids Award in 2008 and the Henry Chadwick Award in 2014.
The other finalists for the 2023 Seymour Medal were:
- Baseball Rebels: The Players, People and Social Movements That Shook Up the Game and Changed America, by Peter Dreier and Robert A. Elias (University of Nebraska Press)
- Red Barber: The Life and Legacy of a Broadcasting Legend, by Judith R. Hiltner and James R. Walker (University of Nebraska Press)
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.
Originally published: February 2, 2023. Last Updated: March 8, 2023.