A HISTORY OF GIVING
Hal Trosky Sr. owned a dairy farm on the outskirts of Norway, Iowa (population 212). He built his boys their very own ball field. The backstop was made of chicken wire, and the bases were old potato sacks filled with straw. When the town’s kids finished their chores, they would head over to the Trosky Farm. Some would walk up to three country miles, just to play a game of ball. There were kids that didn’t have bats and gloves, so Hal would head out to the red barn, open up his old leather trunk, and hand out equipment to whoever needed it. He was a generous man, and he taught his children the value of giving.
In 1936, after Hal Sr. had his best major league season, Wheaties honored him on the box. For every home run he hit, he was given a case of Wheaties. That season, after belting 42 home runs and driving in 162 RBI’s, he received over 1,000 boxes of cereal. During the cold winter months of the Great Depression, Hal would make his way around the small towns and family farms delivering boxes of cereal to less fortunate families.
Hal Trosky Sr. was born and raised in the small farm town of Norway, Iowa. Norway, known as the baseball capital of the world, has bred more professional baseball players per capita than any other U.S. city. Hal Sr. is hailed as one of the greatest Cleveland Indians of all time, and is recognized today as the best rookie to ever play the game, driving in 137 runs, 35 home runs and a .333 batting average. In 1936, he was on the box of Wheaties Cereal hitting 162 RBI’S, batting 343, with 42 Home Runs. Within the Trosky family lineage there are a total of four major leaguers and four minor leaguers. The Trosky bloodline has done something few families have ever done – claim three generations to one major league organization, at the major league level. Hal Sr. finished his 11th season with the Chicago White Sox; Hal Trosky Jr. pitched for the Sox in 1958; and Hal’s grandson, Collin Mattiace (drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays) was the Sox Physical Therapist, earning a World Series ring in 2003. The other family professionals are former major league pitcher Mike Boddiker. In 1984, Boddiker lead the AL with 20 wins and with a 2.79 ERA. Nate Freeze, a 5-year high school varsity starter played AAA for the Chicago Cubs. Ian Mattiace was one of the greatest high school players in Iowa’s history, hitting 23 homeruns and 69 RBI’s in a 23 game high school season. Mattiace signed a minor league contract with the Amarillo, Armadillos. Mick Mattiace pitched AAA with the Cincinnati Reds and was one of 4 pitchers in baseball history to throw back-to-back no hitters, taking place during his 2nd and 3rd professional outings. And the 8th family professional is grandson Nate Trosky. Nate spent 4 years as a coach in Europe’s professional leagues, winning the German World Series in 1998, after coaching 2 years in the United States minor league system.
“The Final Season,” a baseball family film (from the directors of “Sandlot”), is a Hollywood story about the legend of baseball in the Norway, Iowa. The Trosky baseball family lineage is a component of this movie.