As baseball fans go, there’s ‘nun better’ than Cleveland’s Sister Mary Assumpta

Sister Mary Assumpta Zabas with Cleveland Indian mascot Slider after throwing out the first pitch before an Indians' game a few years ago. (CNS/Courtesy Catholic Universe Bulletin)

There’s “nun better” in the eyes of the Baseball Reliquary than Holy Spirit Sister Mary Assumpta Zabas of Cleveland.

Sister Mary Assumpta, 64, a longtime fan of the Cleveland Indians, was named the winner of the organization’s Hilda Award for her devotion to the baseball team. The award is given annually for distinguished service as a baseball fan.

Sister Mary Assumpta’s passion for the Cleveland team is well-known throughout northeast Ohio. In the 1970s and 1980s, she became a regular at Indians games, wildly cheering on the team during some of its darkest days. She’s still a regular at games.

In 1982 a local television station gave her a segment –- Tribe Habit — in its newscast. In 1989 she had two cameo appearances in the film “Major League.” Baseball card producer Upper Deck even made a card for her in 1997.

Perhaps the highlight of her career as an Indian fan came in 2005 when she threw out the first pitch at a home game.

Since 1984 she has baked cookies for players, regularly delivering them to the team. The effort evolved into a small business, which she calls Nun Better, in which members of her community and faithful volunteers bake cookies with natural ingredients. Profits benefit the Jennings Center for Older Adults in suburban Garfield Heights, where Sister Mary Assumpta is director of mission development.

She plans to travel to Pasadena, Calif., July 18 to accept the award.

The Baseball Reliquary was established in 2002 in Pasadena, Calif., to recognize individuals for their commitment to the preservation of baseball history.

5 Responses

  1. What is that ugly thing walking next to sister?

  2. “That ugly thing” is the team mascot, Slider. He is a member of the Mascot Hall of Fame along with the San DIego Chicken. Sister Assumpta is best buds with him.

  3. . . .gosh, a real nun. . .don’t see them much these days what with so many women’s religious communities having transformed–virtually if not canonically–into secular institutes. . .oh boy, now I’ve gone and started something. . .sorry. . .

  4. Amen sister. Thank you for your witness.

  5. Sister Assumpta rocks! She’s a native of our Altoona – Johnstown Diocese, and is just as popular here as she is in Cleveland. She’s a deeply spiritual lady too. God bless her!

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