05/26/2014 2:59 PM
St. Joseph's longest-tenured major league baseball player and two groups that have made major contributions toward the St. Joseph Mustangs are the 2014 nominees to the Mustangs Hall of Fame.
Byron Browne, the Hometown Members of the Inaugural 2009 St. Joseph Mustangs, and the Diamond Club have been chosen for recognition.
Browne, orginally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, spent eight years in the major leagues (1965-1972), playing for the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies.
In his first major league at-bat, as a Cub, he lined out against Sandy Koufax, who went on to pitch a perfect game that day for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Among Browne's 30 major league home runs one of the more memorable was hit against Bob Gibson, legendary St. Louis Cardinal pitcher. A multi-sport star at Central High School, Browne also served briefly as a volunteer baseball coach under Doug Minnis at Missouri Western.
Hometown Members of the Inaugural 2009 St. Joseph Mustangs being recognized are Johnny Coy, Ryan Hook, Drew Garwood, Landin Eckhart, Ethan Barnett and Jordan McGlaughlin.
"These young men could have played anywhere that summer, but they chose to stay in St. Joseph and play with the Mustangs," said Dan Gerson, Mustangs president and chief executive officer.
"Their presence and their skills gave us instand credibility, and helped lay the foundation for what continues to be a successful organization. We're extremely grateful for the contribution these young men made to the program here."
The Diamond Club has been a strong supporter of summer baseball in St. Joseph since it was organized in 1996 by the late Jim and Donna Hamlin. Contributions to the Mustangs and to their summer predecessors have included building and painting booths, taking tickets, serving as ushers and lending support to the team at games both home and away.
Francis (Bud) Fisch is the president of the Diamond Club. Others who continue to play major roles include Jeannie Tudor, David Johnson, and George Brumback.
The new members of the Hall of Fame join Dave Brown, a professional baseball player who managed the 1972 St. Joseph team that won the Boys Baseball Bronco World Series; Linden Black and Mr. Hamlin, catalysts in bringing summer baseball back to St. Joseph; Julius Hochman, founder of the Boys Baseball program in St. Joseph; Doug Minnis, longtime coach at Missouri Western; the 1975 Missouri Western baseball team that played in the NAIA World Series; longtime baseball coaches Greg Kastner (Bishop LeBlond) and Mike Musser (Benton) and the late Tony Poloski, a professional baseball scout who was heavily involved in St. Joseph baseball programs.