Kuttler: Cooperstown’s mayor, HOF chief greeting baseball’s elite

From Hillel Kuttler at JTA.org on July 22, 2014, with mention of SABR members Jeff Idelson and Jeff Katz:

For Jeff Idelson, the director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., induction weekend is all about teamwork.

“When you get to signature events [and] you’re in a small community, all the pieces have to come together effectively for it to be a grand slam,” Idelson said recently from his office in the central New York village of 1,852.

The team includes Mayor Jeff Katz, like Idelson a passionate baseball fan, and they’ll be overseeing this weekend’s festivities as the unofficial welcoming committee for the game’s elite and the tens of thousands of fans who come to pay them homage.

Former players Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and ex-managers Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox will be inducted Sunday.

Calling Cooperstown home is heavenly for the two officials.

“To be the mayor of a place like Cooperstown is a special thing,” Katz said, sitting in Idelson’s office filled with shelves of bobbleheads representing baseball and pop-culture figures as well as Idelson’s Little League bat — a Mike Schmidt model – on the side.

The men have been friends ever since Katz, his wife and their three sons moved to Cooperstown more than a decade ago. The families gather for Passover seders, and Aaron Idelson and Joey Katz were classmates who graduated Cooperstown High School in June.

The two Jeffs work together occasionally – and always when induction weekend rolls around.

“The village has always been there to work with hand in hand, whether it’s parking issues [or] dealing with crowds,” said Idelson, 50. “That’s enhanced now because we have a mayor who really loves baseball.” He adds quickly that previous mayors “have all been great,” too.

Read the full article here: http://www.jta.org/2014/07/22/arts-entertainment/shalom-to-the-enshrined-cooperstowns-jewish-mayor-hall-of-fame-chief-greeting-baseballs-elite

Originally published: July 23, 2014. Last Updated: July 23, 2014.