Episode 146 — Josh Rawitch: Preserving History, Honoring Excellence, & Connecting Generations as the President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Josh Rawitch is the President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY. A long-time baseball executive, he’s spent nearly three decades in the game, primarily with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks before being tapped to run the HOF in 2021.  

Josh and Anna disucss how he got started in the baseball world, how his love for the game has changed over the years, and what it’s like to go to work at your dream job everyday. They also discuss how the Hall of Fame plays a huge role in connecting generations of baseball fans, some of Josh’s favorite exhibits, and how players react when they find out they’ve been voted into the Hall. 


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Instagram: @baseballhall
Youtube: @baseballhall
Website: baseballhall.org

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Website: baseballbucketlist.com

This podcast is part of the Curved Brim Media Network:
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Read the full transcript

[00:00:00] Josh: I had had bosses or others tell me in the past that they thought I might have what it takes to run an organization. And I kind of always hoped, well, maybe the opportunity will come up someday that I could be the president of a team. But it never went when Jeff Idelson called me, I didn’t, even when I saw the phone ringing, I was pulling into spring training in Arizona.

[00:00:17] Josh: And I just remember thinking, Oh, I’m sure he’s just going to tell me what he’s going to do, because I knew he was retiring even when the phone was ringing, it never dawned on me that he would ask that. and then when he did, I just remember thinking, man, that’s wild.

[00:00:29] Josh: but I went home and said it to my wife, who’s from New York. And. Said you’re not going to believe the call I got today. And she said, how would you ever turn down that opportunity? How would we ever not take that? If you got offered that. 

[00:00:42] Anna: What’s up bucketheads? Thanks for tuning in and welcome to episode number 146 of the baseball bucket list podcast. 

[00:00:48] Anna: I’m your host Anna DiTommaso and each week on the show, I speak with a different baseball fan about their favorite memories what’s left on their baseball bucket list and what the game of baseball means to them. This week, I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Josh Rawitch from Cooperstown New York. 

[00:01:02] Anna: Josh has had an incredible career in baseball spanning nearly three decades. Starting as an 18 year old intern with the LA Dodgers. After completing school, Josh worked his way up through the Dodgers organization with a quick stop over at mlb.com. Then spent nearly 10 years as the senior VP of content and communications with the Arizona Diamondbacks before finally being tapped as the president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2021.

[00:01:25] Anna: We had an awesome conversation about what it’s like to work your dream job, how artifacts are selected for and transported to the Hall of Fame, and how much Cooperstown has to offer outside of the Hall. Josh also shares some of his favorite exhibits and talks about how players react to finding out they’ve been elected into the Hall of Fame. This was by far one of my favorite conversations I’ve had on the show. 

[00:01:46] Anna: I cannot recommend a trip to Cooperstown strongly enough. I myself need to find my way back there in the very near future. Josh was such a blast to chat with. I know you all are really going to enjoy this one, so let’s get right to it. 

[00:01:58] Anna: Now without further ado, sit back, relax and enjoy some baseball banter with Josh Rawitch. 

[00:02:04] Anna: Josh, thank you so much for joining us today on the baseball bucket list. How are things in beautiful Cooperstown?

[00:02:13] Josh: They are beautiful. We are, uh, we are a pretty amazing place to live and work. And we’re getting, as I look out the window next to me, I’m getting ready to get a little April snowstorm here in the next 24 hours, but by and large, this place is really special and, uh, and things are going really well.

[00:02:29] Anna: I cannot wait to dive into your career there, in Cooperstown and just involved in baseball, um, your whole life. But the first question I always get started with is how is it that you fell in love with the game of baseball?

[00:02:45] Josh: Um, I love that question. Cause I know it makes all of us think back to obviously being really little, but I was I was, um, a T ball player and, um, I mean, just like anybody’s parents signed them up for sports, but I really think where it started growing for me was my uncle Marvin sent me a pack of baseball cards, a couple of baseball cards, I can actually picture the first two that I ever had, and somehow it grew from there.

[00:03:09] Josh: The love of the stats in the back and the pictures in the front. And, and then I began, I was a Dodger fan and it just really, truly from the time I was about five or six. It has just been a massive part of my life. And, uh, yeah, love is the right word. I am just, I absolutely love this game and I work around a lot of people who do too.

[00:03:28] Josh: So that’s pretty cool.

[00:03:29] Anna: Yeah, they got to be good people. I always say if you’re a baseball fan I know I know you’re on the right track to be in someone I want to hang out with so

[00:03:36] Josh: Absolutely.

[00:03:37] Anna: Did you stay involved in kind of the card world? Is that something that held your interest or did you kind of outgrow that?

[00:03:44] Josh: Um, it’s funny. I was, I was getting into a right when it was booming. So in the mid eighties up to the early nineties was my core childhood when really a, everything was getting mass produced, but. Beckett was just coming out as a sports magazine and we were all keeping track of how much our cards were worth.

[00:04:01] Josh: So I was really into it during that window, but I’d say probably about 14, 15 years old. I just moved on to playing baseball in high school and I stopped collecting. but I still have an, I mean, I’ll still, I was at a game not that long ago in spring training. I walked by a table selling cards and I bought a pack of cards just simply for the joy of opening it up and seeing who you get.

[00:04:21] Josh: It’s still an incredible feeling. And my kid gets the same feeling now when he pulls a pack on. Uh, MLB the show it might not be an actual baseball card, but he gets to use that player in his video game And it’s the exact same sensation. We all had when we were kids that kids are having now doing it different ways

[00:04:38] Anna: Yeah, it’s interesting to see kind of the trajectory of how it’s as you mentioned similar feelings that that kids have You know similar I guess Idolization is maybe not the right word, but you know kind of just That, that moment when you pull your favorite guy from a card pack. It could be the most boring, mundane card, but like there he is and it’s just, um, it’s, it’s a good feeling.

[00:05:00] Anna: So I love that your kids are getting to experience that too, even if it’s a little different. You mentioned you were a Dodgers fan. That was kind of how you were born and raised. You’ve got your hands in a lot of different organizations now. I mean, you have to, as the, the president of the hall there, And of course, you started your career with the Dodgers, but then spent a good chunk of time in Arizona.

[00:05:23] Anna: So, I mean, I like to follow it up with who’s your favorite team, but I don’t know if that’s allowed or, you know, like, do you still follow one team in particular?

[00:05:33] Josh: Um, it’s funny. I mean you could not find a bigger Dodger fan than me for the first 35 years of my life I mean I was obsessed as a child and then to work there for 15 years. I was equal I mean I lived and died with every moment But what’s interesting is when you go and work for a team within the division and the success of the Diamondbacks was directly related to the success of the Dodgers, it’s very strange, but you lose your fandom in a way that I never thought was possible.

[00:05:56] Josh: I really became a legitimate Diamondbacks fan for the decade that I was in Arizona. , and so, interestingly, now I really do follow all 30 teams way more than I ever did. I’m not really tracking any one team. I’d say if I’m going to track one team, it tends to be the Diamondbacks. Um, mainly because my MLB app opens to that and my ESPN app still says it’s my favorite team.

[00:06:18] Josh: So I mean, I will keep up with that news. Um, but I’m really truly now at this point, following all 30, because historic stuff happens. All the time. There was a no hitter last night in Houston and we had to be on top of that. And there’s historic event coming up in Atlanta next week that we’re going to be a part of.

[00:06:33] Josh: And so it’s really, um, in a, in a cool way, I’d say I’m a fan of all 30. and it doesn’t mean I, I don’t dislike the Dodgers. It’s just very different than when the way it was for the first 35 years of my life.

[00:06:45] Anna: It’s interesting to me that, we’re having this call literally the day after the first no hitter of the 2024 season, and you just mentioned that you, you guys got to be on top of that. I mean, there are things that You would presume will end up in the hall there, um, in the relatively new, near future.

[00:07:01] Anna: But one of the questions I wanted to ask you specifically, even before that happened last night, was how in the world do you guys get your hands on the artifacts that find their way to the museum? I know that, you know, the team owns certain things, the players own certain things. Do you call guys up? Are they calling you up and saying, um, Hey, would you really like to have this bat?

[00:07:24] Anna: Like that’d be pretty cool.

[00:07:26] Josh: Yeah. Well, so it’s, it’s an awesome question. And I know a lot of people wonder how it works. So there’s really two processes. I’ll start backwards. There’s there’s the one like last night where something’s happening in real time, and we can’t know that it’s going to happen before the game if somebody is going for their three set 3000 hit we can plan in advance and talk to the team and talk to the clubhouse attendance and whatnot and and work through it and make sure that the player knows in advance that the hall might ask for an artifact. Obviously when a no hitter happens, you have no idea that’s going to happen. So it literally is, as late last night, there’s a person on our staff who’s always paying attention. And even though he’s actually on vacation this week, he was on top of it last night and immediately sent a note saying, hey, we’ve got an ask into the Astros for Usually when it’s a no hitter, we tend to ask for the cap.

[00:08:12] Josh: It tends to just be, um, the, the artifact that we ask for. Um, but I believe we also are getting a game used baseball from that game from last night. so I mean, we, we do have relationships all up and down every organization. I’ve tried my best to get to know every president and club owner. I come from the PR world, so I know most of the PR people.

[00:08:30] Josh: And so does our VP of communications. Who’s really the point person on this. John will routinely check in with teams and make sure that we know what milestones are coming up. So there’s the, there’s the modern artifacts and then there’s a whole separate process that’s our accessions committee, where we will get offered artifacts all the time that, that aren’t from 2024, it might be, Hey, I found this, this cup in my parents attic.

[00:08:54] Josh: That’s from the first night game and Wrigley field history. Would you be interested in having that? And we go through once a month and a group of people talk about. What do we have that’s like this? How might it help our collection? Is it something that we’re missing? Is it something that we would want?

[00:09:08] Josh: And we’re very careful about all of these things because when we agree to take something in, we’re agreeing to keep it forever. And that means the space and the money that goes into preserving something and conserving something, um, we’ve gotta be very smart about. So we don’t. We actually turn away a lot more things than people would think, and it’s not because it’s not cool, and just to give a quick example, autographs tend to be a thing we don’t do a lot of because they’re very hard to preserve.

[00:09:31] Josh: So if you bring in something autographed, you’re pretty much guaranteeing it’s going to be underground in darkness for a long time. It’s not going to be on So people often say like, what do you mean? You don’t want that Babe Ruth signed, whatever. And it’s like, well, it’s, it’s never going to see the light of day because it’s going to get ruined under lights.

[00:09:48] Josh: And so just all sorts of things that our museum team has both taught me and that has been, they’ve been trained in understanding, and so it’s a, it’s a team. Team process of figuring out what we’re going to bring in and how,

[00:10:00] Anna: That’s really cool. I mean, I think probably everyone listening right now heard you describe that it’s one guy’s job to follow all the games and see if anything historic is happening and they’re, currently Googling, how do I get

[00:10:12] Josh: how do I get that job? Yeah, exactly. Well, it’s one, one millionth of his job, but he’s the guy that actually, I fall asleep early and he tends to stay awake for the West coast games. So God bless him. He’s the one who’s always, uh, on top of that stuff.

[00:10:24] Anna: I love that.

[00:10:24] Anna: So I want to back up to, to your career specifically. I, I know that you started with the Dodgers as an intern. I know this because, a mutual friend of ours, Dan Simon made this introduction and you guys met with the Dodgers, but you kind of have this storybook arc of a career where you have, You know, at least three major stops kind of on this journey towards the Hall of Fame.

[00:10:48] Anna: But for, for listeners who aren’t familiar with your story, can you kind of give the uh, the bulleted items here as to what you’ve been involved with?

[00:10:57] Josh: Sure. Well, so I did start as an intern at the Dodgers at 18. It was a very different world. And so nowadays not a lot of freshmen are getting hired, but I was lucky enough. I just sent a resume blindly to the Dodgers. And the next thing you know, I’m interning in my dream spot, which is obviously very different in 1995 than it is now.

[00:11:15] Josh: And I worked basically at the Dodgers for about as I kept coming back as an intern after sophomore and junior year and started full time right after my senior year. Um, in the marketing department and then eventually transitioned over to public relations. spent about a decade there with a, with a little gap in the middle where I actually worked for MLB.

[00:11:33] Josh: com. Um, I was a writer covering the Dodgers and a writer covering the Giants in the first two years that MLB. com existed. And interestingly, I look back at that, even though it was a very short stop, as a great way that I learned what journalists were looking for, it really helped me. In doing my job as a PR person.

[00:11:49] Josh: So I wound up eventually moving up to, to a vice president role at the Dodgers. and then in 2011, um, my old boss at the Dodgers, a guy named Derek Hall, who’s the president of the Diamondbacks called and said, Hey, would you ever think about moving to Arizona? Got this great opportunity for you on my senior leadership team.

[00:12:06] Josh: And, uh, and ultimately it just felt like the right opportunity at that point. And so I never thought I would have left the Dodgers, but I did. And I wound up at the Diamondbacks for 10 years. With really no intention to leave there as a, as I, Derek really followed through on his promise and kept giving me more and more opportunities to take on new departments.

[00:12:25] Josh: And by the time I left the Diamondbacks, I think I was overseeing five or six different areas. and ultimately the opportunity came to me for the Hall of Fame where my predecessor here called and said, Hey, we, there’s a few of you that we think might be good for this role. Would you ever think about moving to Cooperstown?

[00:12:39] Josh: And, um, obviously I don’t think a whole lot of people spend time thinking, Hey, maybe I’m going to live in upstate New York and a village of 1600 people. But all of us know what Cooperstown is. All of us know what it means to the sport. And the idea of, of being in this position was something that I had to, had to seriously consider and talked about it with my family.

[00:12:58] Josh: And, uh, before too long, we were moving to Cooperstown in this role,

[00:13:01] Anna: Wow. Did you have any indication before you got that phone call that you were maybe going to be, considered for this, this role?

[00:13:09] Josh: Not in a million years. Um, and I, I had, I had had bosses or others tell me in the past that they thought I might have what it takes to run an organization. And I kind of always hoped, well, maybe the opportunity will come up someday that I could be the president of a team. But it never went when Jeff Idelson called me, I didn’t, I actually, even when I saw the phone ringing, I was pulling into spring training in Arizona.

[00:13:31] Josh: And I just remember thinking, Oh, I’m sure he’s just going to tell me what he’s going to do, because I knew he was retiring and I just figured he was going to give me an update on what his life was. I had, even when the phone was ringing, it never dawned on me that he would ask that. and then when he did, I just remember thinking, man, that’s wild.

[00:13:46] Josh: Um, but I went home and said it to my wife, who’s from New York. And. Said you’re not going to believe the call I got today. And she said, how would you ever turn down that opportunity? How would we ever not take that? If you got offered that. Um, which I, I still give her a ton of credit. My family said that, I mean, they, they picked up and moved across the country and they didn’t get the cool job to go do it, they just had to, find a new life out here.

[00:14:07] Josh: And they have, they’ve, they’ve settled in great and it’s an amazing place to live and raise a family and, uh, I give them a ton of credit.

[00:14:13] Anna: I love that so much. I’ve only been to the Hall of Fame for one time and uh, I got to show you this. It’s a little dangerous with the computer, but this is my mug from 2008.

[00:14:24] Anna: Yeah, you can, you can almost see it. Um, so back in 08, I went. My dad and I, we called it our baseball pilgrimage up to the northeast there and we hit five different ballparks and of course part of that journey was also a stop at the Hall of Fame and That was such a special moment for me.

[00:14:40] Anna: Not only because you talk about baseball bucket list That’s one of the items at the very top that that’s within your control But you know, I never really thought to ask my dad about baseball and his Childhood and what it kind of meant to him. And so we had always bonded over the modern game at the time You know, we watched the Rays together.

[00:15:02] Anna: We had season tickets with the Rays and that was that was our The way that we bonded but to walk through the Hall of Fame with dad and listen to him Point at things and talk about man. I think I might have been at that game in the 70s or you know, like It was just such a really really cool thing.

[00:15:20] Anna: And I don’t know And I’m kind of ashamed to say that I would have, you know, had that forethought to To kind of join our generations and, and ask him about that and, and watch how the game has progressed and connected generations together. So, um,

[00:15:36] Josh: don’t know if you just use that term intentionally, but that is literally the three things we say we do here is preserve history, honor excellence, and connect generations. And what you just described literally happens hundreds of times every day here, where we’ll walk through the halls and you watch a parent talking to a kid and a grandparent, and they’re having that same conversation and they’re bonding.

[00:15:56] Josh: And it’s the thing that brings the family together. It’s my favorite part of. Of every day when you see it happen. It just, I literally watched a little girl earlier today, like running around. She was so excited. She got her scavenger hunt and our visitor services person’s like, all right, now go over and bring that to mom and go get your prize.

[00:16:11] Josh: And I just thought this kid’s having the, it’s, it’s baseball, Disneyland. It’s, it’s the greatest, it’s the greatest,

[00:16:17] Anna: that is

[00:16:18] Josh: sorry. I don’t know if you had a question, but I’d cut you off.

[00:16:20] Anna: No, I mean, I was, I was just going to ask how often that happens because I would have, I would have guessed that, you know, we weren’t the only, the only folks who were going to have an experience like that. But, I think it’s so funny. It’s one of the things we talk about on the show all the time is you, you think you’re a baseball fan because you’re a fan of a team or.

[00:16:36] Anna: The game itself, but the reason you stick with the game over the entire course of your life is because it facilitates these relationships with people and, I think the Hall of Fame is just, it’s another layer of that. You go in there thinking you’re going to see some cool stuff and holy moly, like what an experience it ends up being by the time you’re walking out the doors.

[00:16:57] Josh: It is. And I do think so many people have it on their like bucket list. And I hear people tell me all the time they live in New York city and they’ll say, Oh, I haven’t, I haven’t made it up there, but it’s on my bucket list. And I’m thinking, how many weekend trips have you done in your life? Where you just, I mean, it is, it is really not that hard to get to.

[00:17:12] Josh: And what I find amazing is that when people come, it never disappoints. You never hear anybody say like, Oh man, it just wasn’t what I thought it would be. Every time they have the same response that you just did. And they’ll say, brought my parents or my kids or best friends. We went on a. Guys trip, a girl’s trip, and it’s just, um, there is something for everybody, and whether you love 1800s baseball, whether you love 1950s baseball, whether you love literally last week baseball, um, there is, and frankly, even if you don’t love the game, what’s really unique about our sport is that it is so paralleled by American history that you can actually follow the timeline of civil rights and World War II and 9 11 and all these incredible things that literally earlier today, I was upstairs and I heard a woman talking to her, her, somebody in her party and was like, wait a second, Jackie Robinson didn’t play for the Blue Jays.

[00:18:06] Josh: And he’s like, well, he, the numbers retired by all 30 teams. And it was like, she’s like, oh yeah, of course. And it was this aha moment where even somebody who didn’t know something. That we consider that simple walked away from here going, Oh, that’s really cool. Of course, Jackie Robinson would be retired by all 30 teams.

[00:18:21] Josh: And it just, it was like a, a literal passing second in my day that I would have never given any thought to until just now, but I remember thinking it and going, that’s what this place does. That’s what this place does.

[00:18:32] Anna: Yeah. I think to, um, you probably never step into, well, maybe you do because you’re there every day. People who go a handful of times throughout their life, they probably never step into the same museum twice. You know, obviously each year new plaques are added to the gallery, new artifacts are added on a very, very regular basis.

[00:18:52] Anna: Um, so I gotta imagine, you know, as I said, I’ve only been once and that was over 20 years ago. It’s been almost 15 years now. And so, it’s, it’s one of those things, like you said, you just, you got to make time for it because it’s important. I want to talk about, you know, we just kind of discussed some fan reactions as they kind of find their way through the museum.

[00:19:16] Anna: I want to talk about the other side of this. I want to talk about these, these guys who get inducted and, you know, After a lifetime of hard work playing this game that they love, you know, what that means for them. So, a couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to sit in on John Blake’s He was kind of giving an account of Adrian Beltre’s, I guess, like an orientation, some kind of time, like in 

[00:19:42] Josh: Exactly. 

[00:19:42] Anna: Yeah. And so John Blake, for folks who don’t know, is the EVP of communications with the Rangers here in Arlington. And to listen to him describe Adrian Beltre, Walking through the Hall of Fame and kind of like sitting down and just staring at things and you know posing in front of Marischal’s plaque and like that.

[00:20:04] Anna: I know you won’t have an answer for this, but just from your observations, you know How many of those guys do you think sit down and go I can’t believe this is happening to me.

[00:20:14] Josh: Well, it’s actually quite funny that you bring up John Blake’s name because he’s actually in Cooperstown right now. He came in today to do some advance work for Beltre’s induction, and he actually brought with him the World Series ring that is going to go in the case. So he handed me a Rangers World Series ring this morning, which is kind of funny.

[00:20:31] Josh: But, and, and Adrian’s actually somebody that I’ve known since, um, he was 18. His first year in the big leagues was like a week after I started full time. So I guess of all the people that I, I certainly wouldn’t be able to speak for, but I can tell you that, even someone like him who, who knew pretty clearly, he was getting in 3000 hits and what I’m most hits by somebody outside of the, from his country and all these incredible ways that like, he had a pretty good sense he was going to be well over 90 something percent.

[00:20:59] Josh: Even still, it hit him in a way that his family just said, like, you, you can’t ever imagine as a kid growing up in the Dominican that you’re going to end up here. And that’s actually in the, in the film that we have here, that’s, that’s one of my favorite lines. It’s one of our, one of the favorite things that people say when they come here is that they watch Generations of the Game.

[00:21:20] Josh: It’s this incredible 15 minute movie that um, came out about five years ago, so it wasn’t here when you were last time here. Um, there’s a line where Juan Marichal says, you know, if you think about where I came from, this tiny town in the Dominican, how could somebody go from there all the way to Cooperstown?

[00:21:35] Josh: And he just kind of laughs, and I get, It is, um, there is not a guy who is inducted. Um, and I should say guy or girl, cause Effa Manley, unfortunately, she was not around when she got inducted, but, that doesn’t understand or appreciate what it’s like, there’s another line in that film where Ozzie Smith says, like to, to have a plaque in the gallery, just think about it, that you, you spend your whole life just playing this game.

[00:22:01] Josh: And somehow people think that you’re good enough, that you belong in there. And Joe Morgan refers to it as holy ground walking in there and see your plaque and there’s all these guys they just doesn’t. I don’t I obviously can’t speak to what it’s like for them but every one of them has a humility about being on that wall that is very hard to describe by them or by anybody else.

[00:22:25] Anna: Yeah, well, that makes me happy. I feel like it’s usually the people who are kind of humble and Quietly hard working that that kind of end up being the big names in the game and the ones you want to see do well So that’s that’s good to hear It reminds me the reason that I decided to ask my dad to do that that trip in 2008 which included The Hall of Fame was there’s a travel writer named Bill Bryson, and he wrote a story called or he wrote a book called The Lost Continent, which he road tripped from one side of America to another and went to Cooperstown, and he’s not a baseball fan per se, but he says the Hall of Fame is the closest You can get to a religious experience without setting foot in a church.

[00:23:08] Anna: And, uh, I was like, dad, we got to go. Like we just, it’s not a question. So, um, I think a lot of people kind of have that, that similar reaction to it.

[00:23:18] Josh: I think what, what people probably don’t realize, which I certainly didn’t realize before I moved here was how much else there is in Cooperstown that, that, I mean, you spend a day at the hall of fame and we have an, we have one of the nicest golf courses in the state of New York, two blocks from here, multiple other museums, restaurants, shops, like there’s a whole brewery and winery trail around.

[00:23:39] Josh: There’s all sorts of stuff there. There’s a massive, gorgeous Lake that. People like going out on Lake. And it’s very funny to me that none of that did I even really realize was here until I moved here. It was just Cooperstown. Okay. It’s the hall of fame, but it really has so much more to offer that when people do make a weekend trip of it, they come away like, man, I am coming back there and they become a hall of fame member and they keep coming back.

[00:24:02] Josh: That’s what we bank on.

[00:24:04] Anna: I’d love that. I want to go back to that, that question I asked towards the beginning about the collection of the articles and, um, how do they physically get to New York? Are they, are they, are they mailed? Are they hand delivered? Or do you load them up in the back of a Brinks truck? Like how, you know, what’s the process like?

[00:24:22] Josh: Great, great question, and also very timely because there’s a number of different ways. Literally, you saw today, John Blake brought a World Series ring with him. Um, we actually happen to have two staff members right now today who went down to Manhattan to pick up a couple new artifacts that we’re loaning from the Jackie Robinson Museum and from another, um, donor in New York, a very, very expensive artifact that we did not want to ship. But there are, in fact, fine art shippers that you can do. Um, they’re incredibly expensive. So we’re careful not to, I mean, we’re a nonprofit organization, so we can’t spend. Hundreds of thousands of dollars on shipping. But, when you’re talking about the world series or an all star game, myself or Shesta, the guy I was talking about before, who, who stays up late watching games, he and I tend to go to all of those events.

[00:25:05] Josh: And so we’ll come back from the world series with everything in a duffel bag that never really leaves our side. but if it is something, for example, like the hat from last night’s game, no hitter or a ball from last night, we will ask the organization to send it certified obviously FedEx or UPS or some way that we know it’s not going to get lost and is trackable. And then once it becomes, once it comes in and we go through the process of accessioning it and giving it an accession, after that, we take it in whatever condition it’s in and we’re responsible for maintaining it that way forever. So, um, yeah, it’s strange. There’s a number of different ways that things get here, but in the last 24 hours, we’ve had several that are very different.

[00:25:45] Josh: Um, and that’s just kind of the way it works.

[00:25:47] Anna: Yeah, always something going on it sounds like. 

[00:25:49] Josh: No doubt.

[00:25:51] Anna: I know this might be another unfair question. I already asked you who your favorite team is, but do you have a favorite exhibit that is, you know, kind of currently set up?

[00:26:00] Josh: Oh man, that’s a tough question. I don’t know that I do. I think we all have personal affinities for various things within certain exhibits, and without a doubt, I mean, I have to say that I bet my favorite exhibit will end up being the one that we’re opening up in May. Um, we’ve spent two and a half years working on the Souls of the Game, which is focused on essentially the black baseball experience, and we’re telling it from the perspective of the voices of people who’ve lived this experience for 150 plus years.

[00:26:31] Josh: And I think it’s been such an organizational effort from there’s not a person in the building who hasn’t been involved in this in some way or another, that I think there’s going to be incredible pride and my guess is at that point I’ll probably say yeah that’s my favorite at the moment. but there’s I mean I Savannah bananas exhibit we put in a few months ago was actually really cool and unique and different.

[00:26:51] Josh: I love honestly, I mean, I love the third floor where we have your team today. It’s got a locker for all 30 teams and that’s constantly changing and updating. I love the Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth exhibits. I mean, I could probably list all of them. I personally love baseball in Latin America. So Viva Baseball every once in a while, I’ll just walk over there and try to pick up something new.

[00:27:13] Josh: I try as often as I can, not as good as it, as I was when I first got here, but I try every day to go into the museum and go look at something that I haven’t seen before at one artifact or one label or one read one plaque of somebody that I don’t know a lot about from the 1930s, because I just think, I mean, you could spend decades here and not see at all.

[00:27:35] Josh: And so, and you can’t, you can’t take in a whole exhibit if you spend an hour reading every label in, in Diamond Dreams that focuses on women in baseball. Like it’s not all going to stick in my head. So I try very hard to pick up little bits and pieces every day. And I know a lot of people on the staff do that.

[00:27:51] Josh: Uh, certainly our visitor services people do that. Cause they want to be able to, then we have an artifact of the week that we, that we share with the staff so that people can just try to take in a new, new artifact every week.

[00:28:02] Anna: I knew it was going to be an unfair question, but I also knew it would be a way to kind of get another, uh, kind of inside look at what’s really going on. The uh, the Soul of the Game exhibit that’s opening near Memorial Day, I think, right? And so, I saw that on the website and it looks like it’s going to be absolutely phenomenal.

[00:28:19] Anna: And then of course with the Rickwood Field, game going on this summer and then the Swingman Classic here in Texas. Um, good timing, I would say. So, um, I love, I love hearing that. what comes to mind if I ask you what your favorite baseball memory is,

[00:28:36] Josh: It’s weird, but I would say that, that lately my favorite baseball memories actually have to do with my son who loves the game as much as I do and plays and watching him become a pretty decent player. He just actually made the varsity team this past week and had his first varsity game. I don’t know, six, three or four days ago.

[00:28:55] Josh: So just, I mean, it’s weird, but I know that’s not what you’re asking, but the game obviously is very much personal to all of us. So, That absolutely plays a role in it. I can remember, in 2008, when, when we advanced in the playoffs at the Dodgers for the first time, in quite some time, we, the Dodgers hadn’t given 20 years since they won a playoff series.

[00:29:18] Josh: And I had worked there for a lot of them. we, we went with the whole front office to a bar down the street. And myself and Kim Ng, who was our assistant GM at the time, um, kind of stood up on the, on the countertops and like celebrated the staff and started spraying them with, with drinks in the, in the bar.

[00:29:36] Josh: And so, I mean, it’s just, people say it all the time, but it, it does come down to relationships and people and the memories that you have with all. So many friends I’ve made over the years that, that my memories are much more about that than they are. If I was. Just a fan who would, would talk about Kirk Gibson’s home run when I was 12 years old and it was the seminal moment of my childhood.

[00:29:58] Josh: but it is very different obviously, once you’ve spent 30 years in the game and I live every day of it. And now I have those memories with the people I work with at the hall. And I, I, I love those every day as well.

[00:30:08] Anna: you mentioned earlier that you kind of have shifted towards keeping 30 teams, just, you know, not only for, for your job, but I would, I mean, it kind of sounds like your Involvement with the game personally has changed too. Do you see, I find that to be true for myself, you know, the older I get too, that the day to day wins and losses mean a lot less to me than just the cool moments that are happening while I’m there.

[00:30:38] Anna: Do you find that to be true of the people who come to work with you in the Hall of Fame? Like, do you think that all of this history and things like that kind of sways their perception of matters?

[00:30:52] Josh: That’s a it’s an interesting question. I would think yes. I mean, obviously, I’d hate to speak for all of them, but I do think that, um, as a fan, you live and die with fandom moments. And I think our job here is to try to put things in historical perspective. So a random Tuesday night game might not mean as much as it does to someone who either is at that game on a Tuesday night or who is living and dying with every pitch of a baseball season.

[00:31:20] Josh: I would say, um, There’s a large number of people here who are massive baseball fans. There’s actually a good number of people who work here. There’s a hundred, almost more than a hundred people, including part time who aren’t even baseball fans. They just recognize the significance of what this institution means and maybe their museum professionals.

[00:31:37] Josh: So, um, I do think that the people that work here probably have a pretty good ability of not like living and dying with every single pitch. But I hope one of them is listening to this and comes and finds me and says, I still live and die with every single pitch because I’m sure there are people here that do.

[00:31:52] Josh: And I think, I think that’s pretty cool too. But I would say I don’t the way I used to, I certainly don’t the way I used to.

[00:31:59] Anna: I could understand. I mean, I feel like that would be you just be too much of a job Like it would just be too hard I mean 162 games keeping up with with one team is one thing and then you know, you’re collecting history along the way It sounds it sounds pretty labor intensive

[00:32:16] Josh: but it’s a labor of love, I mean there really is the people that work here that’s, there is, there is, I mean there’s a woman is retiring later this month who’s, who’s been here 36 years I mean it’s just literally most of her professional life and Um, we have numerous others who have been here for 20, 25, 30 years, it is, it is very common for people to spend a lifetime working in this building.

[00:32:36] Josh: And so the things that they see come and go, the exhibits that have come and gone, the inductions that have come and gone, the people, um, you just, Yeah, you still live and breathe and, and die with the game. That’s just what you’ve chosen to do with our lives.

[00:32:50] Anna: Yeah, sounds like a good life to me

[00:32:54] Josh: Not complaining. I’m definitely not complaining.

[00:32:57] Anna: what’s left at the top of the baseball bucket list? I mean You’ve, you’ve done a lot. You’ve had an incredible career involved in the game. You’ve, you’ve been present for some really cool moments, gotten to meet so many people. Is there something that is still at the top of the baseball bucket list for you to check off?

[00:33:15] Josh: Um, I think it’s really, I hope that I’m able to be in this role for a long time. And I hope that, I’m able to continue to, to evolve the museum so that it stays relevant for the next generation of fans. And I think that’s really the only thing I spend time thinking about is. How do we continue to make sure that that experience you had in 2008 with your dad is the same that someone has in 2028 with their dad or their mom?

[00:33:37] Josh: And, the way that people experience museums and the way that people travel, all the things that go on. I mean, in 2008, you probably didn’t have an iPhone and probably weren’t on social media. So like, if you think about all the things that we have to continue to do, that’s really when I think about what’s left for hopefully me and this team to accomplish.

[00:33:57] Josh: Is to make sure that we’re still making this place relevant because it’s we’re 85 years old this year, and we fully expect to be around for another 85 plus years. And obviously that takes evolution and it takes staying relevant, and I really don’t spend any time thinking about it really anything else on a baseball bucket list and that.

[00:34:15] Josh: And that may sound like a fake answer, but somebody, one of our staff members recently asked me, like, she’s new in her career and she said, when you get to your point in your career, do you still think about what’s next all the time? And I said, I really, I definitely did when I was your age and I don’t now, I really, this is what’s next.

[00:34:32] Josh: This is, this is about as amazing of a role as you could ever have. Um, and I don’t spend any time thinking about what, what else I still want to do other than hopefully fulfill what they, what we’ve been asked to do here. And that’s, um, it’s an incredible honor to get to do that every day.

[00:34:48] Anna: Man, what a perfect answer because I, I think, you know, you just kind of encapsulated why, why you’re the guy who got that phone call for that position. And, uh, as, as a baseball fan for a lot of baseball fans, I’m sure. grateful for The Hall and for everything you and your team are doing to to kind of preserve this game that we love so much and Josh, I can’t thank you enough for for making time to do this.

[00:35:12] Anna: I know you’re a busy guy There was a no hitter last night. So, um, really really appreciate the time before I let you go Is there a place where we should send folks online to to learn more about The Hall and about you?

[00:35:26] Josh: Yeah. I would say baseball hall. org has all sorts of great, great resources in there. There’s a plan your visit section. You can take a look at the museum collection. You can understand the, the new exhibit that we’re putting out, focused on black baseball. And then if you’re a social media person, I’d say, follow us on Instagram or X or Facebook or Tik TOK.

[00:35:44] Josh: We’re in all these places. that’s really the best way to engage with us. Cause, um, I think the one thing most people don’t realize is. We’re not run by MLB. We are in fact, our own separate nonprofit and there’s ways for people to get involved in the hall. And we hope that they do if they spend a little bit of time on our website.

[00:36:01] Josh: I’m hoping we’ll inspire them with, uh, with what we have there.

[00:36:04] Anna: I love everything about it. It’s such a cool place, such a cool mission, and um, I think hopefully we’ve convinced a bunch of folks to, to take their, their first pilgrimage up to Cooperstown, but Josh, I, I so appreciate the time. I, I cannot thank you enough, and I, uh, look forward to seeing what comes next.

[00:36:20] Josh: And it was my pleasure. Thanks, Anna. And good luck with everything out your way.

[00:36:23] Anna: And that will wrap up this episode of the baseball bucket list podcast. Special. Thanks to Josh Ravitch. Which for joining us today and sharing those stories and memories. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, if you think you might like to be a guest on the show, had to baseball bucket list.com/podcast and fill out an application. I’d absolutely love to hear from you. While you’re there. 

[00:36:42] Anna: Make sure to spend some time on the site, sign up for a free membership. Build your own baseball bucket list. Track your ballpark visits and connect with other fans. If you find yourself enjoying the show each week, please take a moment to rate and review it in the podcast app of your choice. I would really appreciate it. 

[00:36:55] Anna: It goes such a long way. That’s it for this week. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll see you. Next episode. 

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