Jeff Idelson, who has spent 26 years in baseball, is President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, located in Cooperstown, New York. He is in his 18th year with the Hall of Fame and fourth as president, having been named to the position on April 15, 2008. Idelson oversees the daily operation of the non-profit, educational institution, whose mission is to preserve history, honor excellence and connect generations. The organization first opened in 1939 and today employs nearly 100 full-time staff members, welcoming an average of 300,000 visitors annually and more than 15 million visitors since opening. The Museum’s collections contain more than 45,000 three-dimensional artifacts and 130,000 baseball cards. The Library catalogs and preserves nearly three million documents including 500,000 historic photographs and 15,000 hours of original audio and video recordings.
In addition to his work at the Hall of Fame, Idelson serves on the advisory council of Harlem (NY) branch of Reviving Baseball in the Inner City (RBI), on the Board of Directors of the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, and on the Board of Directors of the Otsego County chapter of the international program, Girls on the Run.
Idelson joined the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on September 26, 1994, as director of public relations and promotions. In June 1999, he was promoted to vice president, communications and education, overseeing Hall of Fame elections and awards, internal and external communications, community relations, media relations, publications, public programs, promotions, advertising, artifact acquisition, visitor services, photography and the Museum’s Web site. He also oversaw the museum’s college internship program, education department which includes on-site school programs and point-to-point video conferences across the country, taught by area educators.
Before joining the Baseball Hall of Fame, Idelson spent 15 months as assistant vice president and senior press officer for World Cup USA 1994, the organizing committee charged with staging the 1994 soccer World Cup in America. He served as director of media relations and publicity for the New York Yankees from 1989-1993, after being hired as the club’s assistant director of media relations. With the Yankees, Idelson traveled on every road trip, overseeing all aspects of media relations. He interfaced among the players, front office and ownership with the media, acting as team spokesman.
A West Newton, MA native and a 1986 graduate of Connecticut College in New London, CT, (B.A. in International Economics), Idelson began his professional career as an intern in the public relations department of the Boston Red Sox in 1986, continuing work in the team’s public relations department in 1987-88. He also produced radio broadcasts for all Red Sox home games for the Red Sox Radio Network (110 stations) in 1987 and 1988, serving as the Flagship station’s liaison to the Red Sox primary charity, the Jimmy Fund.