Harold James “Jerry” Meredith

Norway won the Benton County high school baseball championship in 1930 with a team that included, among so many talented players, Hal Trosky and Harold Meredith.  Meredith, a marvelous switch-hitting infielder, was born in July, 1911 but was called “Jerry” by teammates and friends, possibly because of the confusion that might have ensued from having two ‘star’ Harolds on one team.   Meredith was an outstanding player, so good that his effortless competence in the field was, later, compared favorably to eight-time major league All Star Marty Marion. According to son Garry, he preferred a thick-handled bat, and he often referred to the curveball a ‘sucker pitch’.

The professional baseball world still remembers Hal Trosky, the 1936 American League RBI leader and slugging star for the Indians and White Sox for over a decade, a slugger whose career ended far too soon due to medical reasons.  But Meredith, the other star of that 1930 team, was talented enough - in his own right - to sign a professional baseball contract after high school graduation.  Tragically, on a night soon after the signing, Jerry was involved in a single car accident, his head impacting the windshield as the vehicle he was driving rolled.  The crash cost Meredith his hearing in one ear, something he never regained over the course of his life.  It also robbed him of his elite athletic gift, and ended his professional baseball career before it ever began.

Meredith remained in the Norway area throughout most of the Great Depression in the 1930s, doing odd jobs and playing town team baseball until 1940, when he moved to California to take up house painting with his father.  It was there that he married Esther Martin, from Wayland, Iowa, and they began a family that eventually grew to five children.

After World War II ended, Meredith returned to Norway and, for a couple of years, owned a drugstore (called “Jerry’s Place”).  After that, Meredith and Louis Arp took up house painting in Norway and remained in that line of work until the aluminum siding industry eventually drove them out of business.  Meredith then worked at the Amana Woolen Mills until he retired. 

He passed away on August 23, 1992.