July 22, 2011
Friday 5: Jeff Idelson
The man behind the scenes is Jeff Idelson...a former Fenway Park vendor who worked his way up the ladder to become the New York Yankees director of media relations and publicity. In 2008, Idelson was named president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum after spending time as both the director of public relations and promotions and vice president of communications and education for the organization.
I recently had a chance to catch up with Idelson...here's that exchange.
HOVG: What's the typical day like for the Hall of Fame president?
IDELSON: There's nothing typical about my day which is why I love my job so much. I spend my time helping to run our great museum in Cooperstown, overseeing a staff of about 100, staying in touch with our 67 Hall of Famers, helping build strategic business to business relationships, fund raising, traveling, giving speeches and most importantly, following our great National Pastime.
HOVG: There has to be a few of these...but what has been your favorite (or most memorable) "I can't believe I get to wake up and do this every day" moment?
IDELSON: There are many of these. Hall of Fame Weekend, when we present the plaques to our new inductees, and announcing the election results on MLB Network, are two of those moments.
HOVG: If you can answer this one...who are four or five guys that aren't in now that you'd like to see enshrined in your lifetime?
IDELSON: That's a tough question, as there are so many great players out there today. Some of the great moments for me was watching players I actually worked with earning election. Guys like Wade Boggs, Goose Gossage, Rickey Henderon, Jim Rice. Those were special moments for me.
HOVG: Is it possible for you to put together a Hall of Fame Mt. Rushmore? This could be the four guys who best represent the Hall or your four personal favorites.
IDELSON: Hmmm. You think of some of the salient players in history, the game changers, and Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Roberto Clemente and Cal Ripken Jr. come to mind. They represent equality, star power, diversity and durability.
HOVG: Who are you more excited to hear...Bert Blyleven or Roberto Alomar?
IDELSON: I am excited to hear them both, as well as Pat Gillick. I know all three will give really good speeches. Bert will surely talk about the land of opportunity, coming over from Holland, Roberto will talk about being from a baseball family, and Pat can speak to so many topics. Sunday will be a day of great speeches, for sure.
HOVG: Lastly...what would be your tips for someone planning their first visit to the Hall of Fame?
IDELSON: If you like Norman Rockwell meets Baseball Mecca, you are in for a treat. We are a small town of 2,000 that represents all that's great about baseball. The museum is a 50,000 square foot step back in time to your childhood, and the Hall of Fame Gallery is the centerpiece. If you like the game, allow most of a day. If you adore the game, bring a sleeping bag. You're in for a treat.
Make sure you watch for Jeff Idelson Sunday during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony...he'll be the one grinning ear-to-ear living out every one of our dreams. And if you aren't following the "Hall Prez" on Twitter yet...why not? He's easy to find...he's @HallofFamePrez.