Joel Platt, Chairman. After graduating from Duquesne University in 1959, Mr. Platt became a successful business entrepreneur, excelling in the areas of Commercial Real Estate, Merchandise Sales, and Amusement Attractions. His Sports Memorabilia Collection has been featured in Sports Illustrated, ESPN the magazine, Discovery Channel, ESPN and numerous national television features. The Smithsonian Institute has recognized the Collection as "
absolutely the most outstanding collection on all sports..." With over 50 years of experience, Mr. Platt is a renowned authority in the field of sports collecting. He is a consultant, an appraiser and a historian. In May of 2009, Mr. Platt was enshrined into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Western Pennsylvania.
How will the Sports Immortals® Complex differ from existing Halls
Sports Immortals will be different in four major
- Our attraction will be located in a major city/tourist market whereas
existing Halls of Fame were based on history, rather than maximizing
- We will enshrine the greatest athletes of all major sports.
- We will use state-of-the-art technology and interactive displays.
- We will be located within a Complex that incorporates full family
dining and entertainment facilities.
What is your most prized possession?
That is a difficult question. But I believe my
collection of Jim Thorpe mementos, as a whole, is the most endearing
to me. These items include Thorpe's Carlisle Indians and Canton Bulldogs
football jerseys, his Carlisle letter sweater, his Olympic scrapbook
from the 1912 games in Stockholm, Sweden, the scrapbook that he kept
for his entire career and various medals and trophies.
Have you ever been involved with the Smithsonian
Yes! One of my most rewarding experiences occurred
in 1981 when I was asked to participate in the Smithsonian Institute's
American Heroes Exhibit. I was the largest contributor and my involvement
provided me the opportunity to meet Ronald Reagan and George Bush. President
Reagan donated an autographed helmet that he wore while playing George
Gipp in the Knute Rockne Story. George Bush added an autographed
photo, baseball and replica uniform he wore when he played first base
How have you managed to stay focused all your
life on achieving your dream?
I have always structured my life by a set of
rules and values that I have compiled into the "Sports Immortals
Rules for Success."
1. Never Lose Sight of Your Dreams.
2. Set Goals for Yourself.
3. Always Give Maximum Effort.
4. Never Be Afraid of Failure.
5. Learn From Your Mistakes.
6. Keep Physically Fit.
7. Avoid Drugs.
8. Be Flexible and Tolerant.
9. Believe in Yourself.
10. Have Faith and Trust Your Instincts.
What was your most heartfelt moment as a collector?
I visited Roy Campanella, the Hall of Fame catcher
for the Brooklyn Dodgers, at his liquor store in Harlem several years
after his crippling automobile accident. After I explained to him my
plans to develop a sports museum to honor the greatest athletes of all
time, he told me that he would be glad to contribute his last Dodger
uniform. The only problem was that he had locked it in a trunk in the
cellar. Roy moved his wheel chair to the door leading to the lower level.
Then he somehow maneuvered himself down the steps to the basement. I
was so touched when he returned fifteen minutes later with his complete
Of all the items that you had a chance to obtain,
which one do you most wish you had acquired?
I received a telephone in 1976 from a young
college student who had a complete Lou Gehrig uniform from 1939 with
the rare centennial patch on the left shoulder. He was asking for $2500,
which I thought was too much money at that time. I offered him $1500
and lost out on one of the rarest Lou Gehrig items you could find.
Do you still actively curate sports memorabilia?
Yes. I am always looking for rare, museum type
sports mementos from great athletes or sporting events.
Is any of your memorabilia available to the
public, or will they have to wait until the Sports Immortals Experience
We have set up our Sports Immortals Showcase
Museum in Boca Raton, Florida to serve as a preview to our Sports Immortals
Experience. The facility features rotating displays of over 20,000 mementos
to see. It also offers a selection of over 10,000 non-museum-related
items to purchase in our state-of-the-art memorabilia mart.