Hall of Famer a Fixture at Phil Welch

Published 06/07 2013 07:14PM

Updated 06/07 2013 08:59PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The St. Joseph Baseball Hall of Fame held its third inductions Friday night at Phil Welch Stadium.

One of the men going into the hall still spends his summer nights working at the park for the Mustangs.

Greg Kastner was born with baseball in his blood.

"We'd go buy a ten cent bag of flour so we could make baselines, and we'd just go out there and play baseball all day," Kastner recalls from his childhood playing ball in the sandlot.

The man that's worked just about every job at the ballpark is getting recognized for his dedication as he enters the St. Joseph Baseball Hall of Fame.

"Having Greg Kastner as part of the ball club, well, let's just say not every team is that blessed," Mustangs General Manager Rick Muntean said. "We're lucky that he has stuck around."

Kastner graduated from Christian Brothers High School in 1970 -- the final class to complete its education there -- and got in on the early stages of Missouri Western's baseball program.

The St. Joe native set Western records for strikeouts in a game with 16, and fewest hits allowed in a season.

That success caught the eye of the Atlanta Braves, and before Kastner could complete his career as a Griffon, the Braves selected him in the ninth round of the 1973 MLB Draft.

"I can remember Joe Bowman who was a scout at that time for the Braves calling up and saying that I had been drafted by the Braves and he'd be by in a couple days to talk about contracts," Kastner said. "It was just like, 'Wow. It happened.'"

His career was cut short after a few seasons while still in the Atlanta farm system due to an arm injury.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, Kastner went 4-5 in 24 appearances in the 1973 and 1974 seasons combine.

After his stint in professional baseball he returned to St. Joe and has made his mark with the LeBlond baseball program winning more than 300 games in the last 26 years.

He's also had a hand in summer college baseball in St. Joseph for portions of the last 20 years, spending three seasons as assistant and pitching coach for the St. Joe Cardinals and six seasons as general manager of the St. Joe Saints.

"You couldn't find a better guy to represent the Mustangs than Greg Kastner," Muntean said. "Everybody knows him, he's a solid individual, and obviously one heck of a baseball player and baseball man."

Kastner still spends his summer nights at the ball field. He's in his ninth season as public address announcer -- four with the Saints and five with the Mustangs -- at Phil Welch.

"Being able to spend my summers at a baseball park -- probably couldn't be any better than that."

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