College is often a busy and stressful time for all students as it is a time for independence and immersing one’s self in new opportunities. It is about experiences, both old and new, guiding one towards new opportunities and for some to do something they never thought they would. That is exactly what senior Billy Pinckney did.
Pinckney is a sports communications major at Montclair State University where he has involved himself in several extracurricular activities. Pinckney is currently a pitcher for the Montclair State club baseball team where he holds the title for longest-tenured current player being with the club since the fall of 2020.
“It’s been great being a part of club baseball, allowing my career to continue in college,” Pinckney said. “My senior year in high school was COVID, so I didn’t get to play. A lot of my teammates from high school stopped playing… I was fortunate to be able to latch on to club ball here at MSU and play for another few years.”
Pinckney may be known better by his alias, “Billy the Batboy.” Back when he was 11 years old, Pinckney was a batboy with the New Jersey Jackals, a professional baseball team from the Frontier League, who played on campus at Yogi Berra Stadium for the past 25 years until recently relocating. He created Billy the Batboy a few years later as a way of interviewing players and coaches to learn more about the game of baseball and become a bigger part of it.
“I began to interview players in 2015, I was 13 years old,” Pinckney said. “I would just ask the players some questions, a lot of it was just advice for younger players. I created the YouTube Channel and social media platforms, and over the years it evolved and now I’m creating a lot of mic’d-up content and interview content that’s entertaining but fun and also educational and inspiring for the younger players out there.”
Billy the Batboy has amassed over four thousand subscribers on YouTube as well as 18,000 Instagram followers and 49,000 TikTok followers. Over the years, Pinckney has used these platforms and opportunities to create content with professional baseball players and gain experience in the sports media world. After over ten years of experience and interview content with some major names in baseball, Pinckney was able to write and publish his own book. “Passion Prevails: Baseball’s Top Performers Advise Youth Players on Maximizing Their Experience,” by Billy Pinckney’ is a compilation of his many interviews throughout his career all intended to help the younger generation with a passion for baseball.
“The goal of the book was to help young players navigate their careers as they face adversity, how to deal with pressure, how to separate baseball and life, and really enjoy your playing career,” Pinckney said. “That was really the main thing to inspire these young players. I dealt with some pressure while playing when I was younger. A lot of parents out there put pressure on their kids. Luckily I didn’t have that but I did face pressure from some coaches that I had and realized the game wasn’t as fun as it used to be.”
Pickney wanted a way for young players to learn from these professionals and even college athletes so that they do not get discouraged or quit the sport.
Pinckney was not alone in his process of writing and publishing his book as he had help from some of Montclair State’s own, Professor John McCarthy and Dr. Robert Gilbert. For those who have had Gilbert in any of his classes know that he always advocates for his students to go and write a book because not many can say that they have. Both McCarthy and Gilbert are included in the book, providing Pinckney with information and advice from their own careers.
“Billy is a self-starter,” Gilbert said. “I say that every once in a while I see a student and I say, ‘Wow, I wish I could buy stock in this person’s future,’ and Billy’s one of those students. His book is over 320 pages and he’s still an undergraduate, that’s incredible.”
Pinckney’s book includes interviews with players and coaches both past and present from the MLB and MiLB, all telling their stories and sharing their passion for the game. To name a few, the book includes interviews with Nick Swisher, David Cone, David Wells, Todd Frazier, Richard “Goose” Gossage, and many others.
“It’s a rewarding process, definitely an incredible process as well,” Pinckney said. “I went into this knowing that I have an opportunity to help inspire younger players and it was also an opportunity for me to learn a lot about how to improve myself. I really took this seriously and enjoyed every minute of it. Of course, it’s time-consuming and could be a tedious process when you’re trying to transcribe things and see what fits… but it was definitely rewarding.”
Pinckney took Dr. Gilbert’s advice to heart and can now call himself a published author all before he graduates college. A wearisome but rewarding process now presents others with an opportunity to learn and perhaps follow suit in this accomplishment.
“You look at all the assignments you do, and their ancient history,” Gilbert said. “You write a book, that will be on your resume forever.”