This week Logansport Youth Baseball lost a treasured veteran, a man that spent countless months and years as a local volunteer to enrich the baseball experience of Logansport youth, the namesake of one of the two fields kids play on each season. This week Jim Metz quietly passed away in his home.
Metz first came into the league during the 1973 season and though not always coaching or holding a board position could be seen every summer at the ballpark. He came into the league as an assistant coach to Frank Schlick with the former RBM Shamrocks when his son Jim was just 10 years old.
From that point on Fairview Park and youth league baseball was a part of him. When Schlick stepped down after many years of service himself, Metz stepped in and became manager of the team. Throughout the years Metz coached, held various board positions and spent countless hours improving the facilities that were available.
Nothing lasts forever, but Metz made the attempt. After a little more than 20 years in the league he decided it was time to hang it up and step down.
“Jim was a special guy,” said Sam Tocco, a longtime friend and fellow youth league veteran. “He loved the game and he loved being at the ballpark. Even when he stepped down and got out of the league, he was still around and willing to help out. Just in the past few years when Logansport was hosting the Ohio Valley Tournaments, Jim was there offering his assistance in whatever capacity was needed.”
During the 1997 season, the field known simply as the practice field was voted on by the league and would further be known as Metz Field in honor of his many years of service. His hiatus was short-lived as the next season he came back into the league and served two years as league president before bowing out for the final time.
In addition to watching his sons play over the years and his grandson Matthew later on, one of the fondest memories that Metz had during his time involved with youth baseball occurred in early May 2003. On that emotional night, officers of the league invited Jim and his family over for the official re-dedication of the field that was named in his honor. With all that being bestowed upon him, the pleasure was all his when he was also asked to throw out the first pitch that evening.
Metz’s time spent in baseball over the years can probably be summed up by former big leaguer Jim Bouton who once said, “A ballplayer spends a good piece of his life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.”
Speaking on behalf of those that have been involved in the local youth baseball league, thanks Jim for helping to make Fairview Park a better place for kids to play a little baseball.