Rickey Biography Chosen as Seymour Medal Winner

The Society for American Baseball Research is pleased to announce that Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman by Lee Lowenfish (University of Nebraska Press) is the recipient of the Seymour Medal as the best book of baseball history or biography written in 2007.

Mr. Lowenfish will receive the medal at a special Awards Breakfast during the 2008 SABR convention on Sunday, June 29.

The committee said of the Rickey biography, “Lee Lowenfish has crafted a biography worthy of Mr Rickey in all his complexity.

The Society for American Baseball Research is pleased to announce that Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman by Lee Lowenfish (University of Nebraska Press) is the recipient of the Seymour Medal as the best book of baseball history or biography written in 2007.

Mr. Lowenfish will receive the medal at a special Awards Breakfast during the 2008 SABR convention on Sunday, June 29.

The committee said of the Rickey biography, “Lee Lowenfish has crafted a biography worthy of Mr Rickey in all his complexity. Rickey is portrayed as a man of conviction, piety, intellect, and guile. Lowenfish plumbs the depths of the career of a  man whose accomplishments were both  the blueprint of modern baseball and the north star for race relations in America. It is a tale skillfully told by one of baseball’s most noted historians.”

The judging committee also recognized two books as “finalists” for the medal. They are:

Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball by Norman Macht (University of Nebraska Press)

and

Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line by Adrian Burgos, Jr. (University of California Press)

Of the Mack biography, the committee noted “Connie Mack, whose remarkable lifespan included both the Civil War and Hiroshima,  remains as one of the four or five most significant figures in baseball history.  In the first book of a two volume biography historian Norman L.Macht has written a book that reads like a great novel. Not only is this book an entertaining read but also a remarkably detailed examination of one of baseball’s best known, and hitherto, misunderstood characters. Macht’s book takes its rightful place on the shelf of indispensable books on The National Pastime.”

The committee had this to say of Burgos’ history: “Latinos have played a vital role in baseball for generations and Burgos does a masterful job in presenting their history in the context of the complex racial and social history of the game. He argues that Latinos helped lay the groundwork for integration and endured many of the challenges faced by African-American players. Burgos work is as scholarly as it is readable and enlightening.”

The Seymour Medal, named in honor of Dr. Harold Seymour and Dorothy Jane Mills (formerly Seymour), is awarded to the book judged the best work of baseball history or biography in the preceding year. Previous winner of the medal can be viewed here.

SABR would like to thank its Seymour Medal judging committee of Dick Johnson, Jon Daniels, and Ron Kaplan.

 



Originally published: May 9, 2008. Last Updated: May 9, 2008.

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