Giving back

Family of former AAGPBL star donates artifacts to Hall of Fame

April 16, 2010
This headshot of Norma Metrolis is among the 323 photos her family donated to the Baseball Hall of Fame. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Photo Gallery of images from the Norma Metrolis Collection

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – When players, teams and fans donate artifacts to the Baseball Hall of Fame, it is often a difficult decision.

The donors trust the Hall of Fame to preserve these items for eternity and allow thousands of baseball fans to view their items each year. That is why the Hall of Fame is so grateful that so many generous people make donations to its collection.

One of those generous donations arrived in Cooperstown in February from the family of AAGPBL player Norma “Trolley” Metrolis. Metrolis had visited the Hall of Fame in September of 2009 with a large group of family and friends. She got a look at her clipping and photo file in the Library as well as the Diamond Dreams exhibit located on the second floor of the Museum.

Just five months later, the 84-year-old Metrolis passed away at her home in Melbourne Beach, Fla. Only a few days later, a box full of Metrolis’ memories from the years she spent catching baseballs were on their way to Cooperstown.

“The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is thrilled to add material from the career of AAGPBL player Norma Metrolis into the permanent collection,” said Sue MacKay, the director of collections at the Hall of Fame. “The donation is a snapshot into the life of a very active AAGPBL member that played for five teams over a five-year period.”

Metrolis spent time with the Muskegon Lassies, Racine Belles, South Bend Blue Sox, Peoria Redwings and Fort Wayne Daisies between 1946 and 1950. Metrolis – a catcher – had only 14 errors in her career.

The box her family sent contained 323 photographs, including practice and game action shots and many informal group shots with images of excursions by the members of her team, gatherings at the homes of players engaged in informal recreational activities including swimming and boating.

There are team photos, player portraits on the field, shots from the World Series and from the League’s trip to Havana, Cuba.

Besides the photographic material, the Metrolis collection consists of three autographed balls, of varying size used by the league; her uniform patch from her time with the Blue Sox; a letter written by league officials that accompanied a South Bend Blue Sox contract; league-related periodicals; newsletters; team schedules; and a Muskegon Lassies business card.

“These pieces will add new depth to the rich history of the AAGPBL and enable our staff to educate our visitors about the importance of the league in the greater context of this important time period in American history,” said MacKay.

Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum