Director of communications, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
For a sports enthusiast, working at the National Baseball Hall of Fame (HoF) in Cooperstown, NY can be a Holy Grail-like occupation. For Brad Horn, the experience is no different.
"I've always been a sports fan and my [biggest] love has always been baseball," Horn says.
But a recent event in the sporting world has the opportunity to turn the HoF into a lightning rod of controversy-- one Horn and his communications team is gearing up to face.
Horn, 29, who joined as director of public relations in February 2002, now directs the daily public relations functions for the 66-year-old non-profit educational institution, overseeing media relations, publications, the web department, and customer relations initiatives.
At any given time, he could be working with one of the 30 MLB teams or hundreds of minor league teams on a variety of partnership and memorabilia opportunities.
While Cooperstown and the HoF are well known by baseball enthusiasts and its annual induction ceremonies are a huge draw, Horn says his challenge is to make sure it is in the media and recognized every day of the year.
But the topic of conversation confronting the HoF currently is not one that many in professional baseball wish to discuss. An esteemed baseball star who was expected make the HoF when he retired has tested positive for steroids. When he is eligible for induction, there will be a rousing debate as to whether or not his drug use should preclude his acceptance.
While the HoF is neither officially affiliated with the MLB, nor determines who actually gets inducted into its hallowed halls (a group of writers make that decision), the communications team will no doubt be called upon to discuss its significance.
"It will be an enormous chapter in the history of baseball, and we have the responsibility to tell the story," Horn says. "Since we're an educational institution, we have more of an opportunity to tell the story, its impact on the game, and how it has truly changed the game forever."
But Horn is currently focused on the lighter stories coming out of the baseball world.
"A part of what we have to do on the communications side is acquire baseball artifacts, as they're our hook and they tell the story of baseball," Horn says.
Horn talked to PRWeek.com shortly after Houston Astros 2nd baseman Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch for the 268th time, which broke the MLB record.
Horn then reached out to the Astros to see if the team or player would donate the elbow guard that he wore on that fateful pitch. Horn says that while the milestone itself might not have been the biggest one ever, the elbow pad helped the Hall of Fame tell the ongoing equipment story of baseball.
"The elbow guard in the context of the evolution of equipment in the game made for a nice story," Horn says.
His supervisor commends Horn's ability to spot the stories.
"The challenge has been to put the Hall of Fame [in the media] more often, and Brad has very instrumental in doing that," says Jeff Idelson, the HoF's VP of communications and education.