One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is fun – and it makes people happy when they are here. As with most museums, our visitors come from all walks of life – including those who are retired, or even in the prime of their career.
I had the great fortune to meet one such individual who is in the prime of his career on Thursday. This young man is from a small town not to far from Cooperstown – a little town called Wells Bridge, N.Y. Nicholas Zorda been to Cooperstown before, visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame numerous times, including as a member of the Otego, N.Y., American Legion baseball team during the 1998 and 1999 seasons. He was a first baseman for the team and had the opportunity to play on historic Doubleday Field.
On Thursday, he visited the Hall of Fame with many members of his family, including his wife Kristy, two-year-old daughter Cali, and four-year-old son, Cooper, who incidentally is named after one of his favorite towns – Cooperstown. He was also accompanied by his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and colleagues – this was not the typical baseball fan visit, but a special visit, because Navy Career Counselor First Class Nicholas Zorda chose to reenlist for three more years in the United States Navy in a little ceremony in the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery.
Petty Officer First Class Zorda could have stayed at his office and reenlisted, but he wanted to share this moment with everyone who means so much to him, in a place that means so much to him. A lifelong St. Louis Cardinals supporter, Nicholas is a big fan of Bob Feller who also served in the Navy, as well as Stan Musial – an icon of the Cardinals’ rich tradition.
He was happy to be here, and we were happy to have him.
Scot Mondore is the director of licensing and sales at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.