NORWAY, Iowa — Norway High School last played baseball 30 years ago, before the school merged with nearby Benton Community. That ended a run for the team, winning 20 state baseball championships. The school’s last game against South Clay was a come-from-behind win to bring down the curtain on a great run.
The school has produced three major league players. Mike Boddicker was the American League Championship Series MVP in 1983 and went on to win the World Series with the Baltimore Orioles.
Bruce Kimm was a major league catcher with the Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox. He later went on to win a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins as a coach. He also managed the Iowa Cubs and was interim manager of the Chicago Cubs.
Hal Trosky was the first Norway player to make the major leagues with the Cleveland Indians in 1934. In his third season he led the American League in RBIs and total bases. He hit 228 career home runs.
“No doubt we had a Field of Dreams moment when we won our first state tournament in 1965,” said Kimm. “Cars lined up from Watkins four miles away.”
“People ask me how Norway, a town of 500 or 600 people had so many talented athletes,” said Rick Ryan, a member of the first state championship team in 1965. “I’ve tried to explain it. Fundamentally we had some role models in front of us. For me it was Hal Trosky.”
Boddicker noticed similarities to the Field of Dreams when he remembers the Norway baseball field.
“The parallel was it was fun, baseball’s got to be fun,” said Boddicker, talking about the Field of Dreams game. “The Major League game this year was fabulous, it was fun, people had a blast. Baseball is getting to the point it’s not fun, baseball is supposed to be fun.”
Another Hall of Fame class for Norway has been selected for 2022.
Much of the Norway baseball memorabilia and from other Iowa baseball teams can be seen at the Iowa Baseball Museum of Norway.
This author is a native of Norway, Iowa, and witnessed a number of state championship baseball games while in school at Norway.