Josh Rawitch was in his last week as an executive with the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the All-Star week and he was just leaving a meeting about the Suns Road Game Rally at Chase Field.
Rawitch sounds confident but sentimental about the decade he has spent with the D-backs, most recently as senior vice president, content and communications.
On September 9, the 44-year-old Scottsdale resident will begin his tenure as the eighth president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. He, his wife, Erin, and their children, Emily and Braden, moved east on August 6.
His last day with the D-backs was July 16 — nearly 10 years to the day when he joined the team.
“It’s hard to put into words how cool of a position this is,” Rawitch says about the presidency. “We’ve gone through the process and were able to visit Cooperstown several more times. We’re really, really excited. We loved our decade here, though, and so did the family.”
Jane Forbes Clark, chair of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, is looking forward to working with Rawitch as well.
“On behalf of our board of directors, I am delighted to welcome Josh as the Hall of Fame’s next president, and to welcome him and his family to Cooperstown,” Clark says in a statement.
“Josh brings to the Hall of Fame a wealth of expertise from his many years representing the game as a respected baseball executive. We are very much looking forward to his presidency at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.”
A daily impact
A graduate of Indiana University, Rawitch has spent 27 seasons working in baseball. In his most recent role with the D-backs, Rawitch helmed player and media relations, corporate communications, broadcasting, content production, social media, creative services, in-game entertainment, Spring Training business operations, team archives, alumni relations, publications and photography.
So few businesses, he explains, have an outcome almost daily that can impact an office — happy or sad — at the end of the day.
“Derrick (Hall, CEO) has created such a special place to come to work every day, to the extent is I’m going to share that with Cooperstown,” Rawitch says.
“From the first day, Ken Kendrick has blown me away with the way he genuinely cares about the organization and this city and to see what this franchise has become.”
The D-backs’ managing general partner, Kendrick, is on the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Board of Directors. Rawitch has been grateful for this time with Kendrick, Hall and Cullen Maxey, executive vice president, business operations and chief revenue officer.
He joined the Diamondbacks after 15 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office.
A native of Los Angeles, Rawitch joined the Dodgers’ staff in 1995 and spent parts of five seasons in the team’s marketing department before shifting to public relations. He left the organization to serve as a beat reporter for Major League Baseball Advanced Media from 2001-02, after which he returned to the Dodgers, eventually rising to the position of vice president of communications.
With decades in baseball, Rawitch is clearly passionate about the sport. It’s a longtime love, as he scored an internship with the Dodgers after his freshman year of college.
“The world was very different,” he says. “The field was not nearly as competitive. After my internship, I returned for three summers. I was hired full time the week after I graduated. I was there for 15 years.”
He left for two years, spending one year covering the Dodgers and another for the San Francisco Giants for MLB.com.
“There’s just something about this sport,” Rawitch says. “It’s intoxicating. With the daily grind of it, you have to love the sport to work in the sport. I grew up loving it as a kid.”
He almost transferred to baseball operations with the Dodgers because he’s such a student of the game. Rawitch loves the atmosphere, the game and the business of it. He enjoys creating content, social media and sharing story ideas with editors.
“Everything about it is so much fun for me,” Rawitch says. “To get the chance to work in the mecca of the baseball world is so unreal.”
Making the move
Rawitch heard about the open position from Hall of Fame Interim President Jeff Idelson.
“He thought I’d be a really good fit for this,” Rawitch says. “It’s such an interesting position. It had to be someone within the baseball community, given the relationships you had to have. There was a list of people who might be a good fit. I’m very grateful that I came out on the top.”
That’s not to say he hasn’t had a series of highlights with the D-backs.
“The 2017 Wild Card and that entire season is unmatched,” Rawitch says. “It was so much fun. That’s at the top of the list.
“Several of the trips we took to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the Dominican Republic were highlights. For someone who loves to travel, it was a highlight to travel while doing my job and raising the international profile of the organization.”
His coworkers, players and executives made an impact on Rawitch — and will continue to do so.
“My wife and kids feel the same way,” Rawitch says. “Arizona is a second home for us. Living life in Arizona was so fantastic for a decade. The people, the trips and the 2017 Wild Card were the highlights. I actually watched much of that game from the stands with my family. To experience the game like a fan, even though I was working, and to see so much joy in the city was great. We’re seeing it again with the Suns and this watch party.
“All the cool community programs we’ve done really stand out. Seeing my kids wear D-backs uniforms and feel the pride is amazing. I feel very, very lucky.”
Rawitch is also impressed with the strong and dedicated fans who have stuck with the D-backs during its rough 2021 season.
“That’s a true sports town,” he says. “I think it’s because this organization is so engrained in the community. People do realize it’s more than just a baseball team on the field. It’s a civic entity trying to help fans.”