When the spotlight shines January 8 on Montclair State University graduates ready to use their degrees to knock their next moves out of the park, Billy Pinckney, a Sports Communications major, will be among those swinging for the fences. One of many accomplished Winter Commencement graduates, at 21, he’s already a published author of a book for young ball players with big dreams.
Pinckney – better known on social media as “Billy the Batboy” – has been featured in USA Today for his book and popular YouTube channel that features interviews and tips from the pros he has gotten to know, beginning as a batboy with the New Jersey Jackals, a minor league team that played for years in his hometown of Little Falls at Yogi Berra Stadium on Montclair’s campus before their move to Paterson in 2023.
In many ways, Pinckney symbolizes the spirit of determination, resilience and success that defines the Montclair graduates whose degrees will be conferred at Newark’s Prudential Center. The University is a game-changer, graduating students at a higher rate than the national average and creating transformational opportunities that make a difference in the lives of others.
Pinckney used his access to players to compile lessons for young athletes within the pages of his book, Passion Prevails: Baseball’s Top Performers Advise Youth Players on Maximizing Their Experience.”
“The goal 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 their playing career,” Pinckney says. “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.”
As Billy the Batboy, Pinckney has amassed more than 49,000 TikTok followers, 18,000 Instagram followers and nearly 5,000 YouTube followers. He has used these platforms and opportunities with professional baseball players and gained experience in the sports media world.
In November, he traveled to Dubai to create content for an all-star showcase for Baseball United, the first professional baseball league in the Middle East and South Asia. During his 10 years with the Jackals, he moved from the dugout to the press box, conducted pregame reports, created content for the video board, promoted the Jackals through social media and assisted the manager in finding players. He received a championship ring for his contributions when the team won the league title in 2019.
He accomplished all this while also strategizing a college course load to graduate a semester early – aligning with baseball’s offseason – to be ready for his next chapter in baseball and any job offers ahead of spring training.
“I definitely made sacrifices, but when you know that something is going to benefit you later on in life, and you know it’s what you’re meant to do, it made my decisions easier and made the sacrifices easier to manage as well,” Pinckney says.
Classes in sports psychology with Exercise Science and Physical Education professors Rob Gilbert and John McCarthy encouraged Pinckney to curate his interviews into the book. “Billy is a self-starter,” Gilbert says. “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.”
“It’s a rewarding process, definitely an incredible process as well,” Pinckney says. “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.”
Story by Staff Writer Marilyn Joyce Lehren and Matteo Macolino, a Sports Communications major also graduating at Winter Commencement. Macolino originally reported on Pinckney for The Montclarion. Photos by Mike Peters.