Hall of Fame internship combines history, baseball
by Chris Goltermann
Christian Stegall may have connected with the grand slam of all internships — at least for any baseball fan or history buff.
The honors graduate at East Coweta in 2012 and a junior history major at Morehouse University is both of the above.
This summer, Stegall landed a much coveted and equally rare position working at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., as a public programming intern. His list of responsibilities includes conducting tours, presenting programs and planning for major events such as next weekend’s induction ceremonies that will include Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves.
“I can say I haven’t had a boring day of work yet,” said Stegall, who will wrap up his duties in three weeks before returning to his studies at Morehouse, where he is vice president of the Quill and Shield, the school’s student historical society. “There’s a lot you have to learn. But when it’s something you cherish like history and sports, it doesn’t take as long to pick up what you need to know.”
Stegall was among 15 college students selected from over 600 applicants for the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development, allowing them to receive hands-on training in a field that closely matches the student’s major. He is the only minority among the current group as well as the lone Georgia native.
“I went to New York and visited the Hall of Fame last year and that’s when they told me about it,” said Stegall of the program. “I have a love of history and I love baseball. It’s the best of both worlds.”
Stegall, who received a scholarship from the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society upon graduating from high school, is hoping to one day land a position in a museum. He plans on continu- ing his studies in graduate school while pursuing his masters degree.
“I definitely like sports history. But it’s hard for me to narrow it down. I’ve enjoyed learning about African-American history. Just the 20th Century in general.”
As part of the internship, participants are also involved in special projects, with Stegall focusing on an interactive exhibit encompassing the Negro Leagues. Items will feature arti- facts including game jerseys worn by players.
“It’ll be a first-person, hands-on experience,” he said.
Equally, Stegall’s knowledge of base- ball has blossomed during the time in Cooperstown. They’ve included researching the first female member of the BBHOF, Effa Manley, who was an executive with the Newark Eagles of the Negro Leagues.
Manley, who used baseball to advance civil rights causes with events such as an Anti-Lynching Day at the ballpark, was among 17 people from the Negro Leagues and pre-Negro Leagues selected by a special committee for induction in 2006.
“It’s been a great experience,” Stegall said, while looking ahead to next week’s Hall of Fame induction ceremonies where the Atlanta Braves will dominate much of the festivities between a trio of Cox, Glavine and Maddux. “Being from Atlanta makes it even more special because I watched all of them.”
The Baseball Hall of Fame is accepting applicants for the 2015 Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program this fall at www.baseballhall.org/education .