During his tenure as the President of the Hall, Petroskey was credited with expanding membership and fundraising, furthering educational efforts and outreach, and establishing a closer relationship with the business of baseball (which is to say, Major League Baseball itself) with which the Hall had not always been on the best of terms. Under his leadership, the Hall completed a major renovation and modernization, which was completed in 2005 at a cost of $20 million.
He has also been credited for the Hall's recent initiatives to increase and further recognition of the contributions of Negro League players, managers, and executives, continuing an effort first broached by Hall of Famer --and Negro Leaguer-- Jackie Robinson. A five-year program resulted in the elevation of 17 Negro Leaguers to members of the Hall of Fame.
Many people, including well-known baseball figures like authors Roger Kahn and Jules Tygiel, were upset by what they saw as an attempt to punish political speech. Kahn canceled an appearance at the Hall and Tygiel called for Petroskey's resignation.
Bull Durham co-star Kevin Costner defended Robbins and Sarandon, saying, "I think Tim and Susan's courage is the type of courage that makes our democracy work... Pulling back this invite is against the whole principle about what we fight for and profess to be about."
At the time of the announcement of his resignation, an article from the local Cooperstown Freeman's Journal cited the local reaction as "shock and disappointment". The Freeman's Journal goes on to say:
“The relationship between the village and the Hall of Fame was great,” Mayor Carol B. Waller said of the Petroskey years. “I was just as shocked as everyone else at last night’s news.”
Despite the ingnominous end to his Hall of Fame Presidency, Petroskey continues to be held in high esteem amongst the civic leadership of the village of Cooperstown, and serves or has been asked to serve in various municipal commissions and roles.
Petroskey was replaced by one of his vice-presidents: Jeff Idelson.
PAUL HOLMES: Petroskey commits a litany of PR errors by politicizing recent Hall of Fame celebration.(political activity of Dale Petroskey)
Apr 21, 2003; Dale Petroskey is a former White House press spokesman, having served in that role during the Reagan administration. He is also,...