Daniel Gerson, born in Chicago on May 21, 1955, spent nearly 18 years as a commodity trader at the Chicago Board of Trade. Dan retired from trading and moved to Kansas City where he raised his family, including coaching baseball teams for his son Tyler and Luke. Dan had moved back to Chicago most recently, with his girlfriend Natalie Nedblake, who spent many years by Dan’s side.
Dan purchased a small restaurant in Independence, MO in 1997, turning it into the original Big Biscuit. Soon after, he purchased a second location in Blue Springs. Since then, a number of Big Biscuit franchised restaurants have opened across the Midwest, serving breakfast and lunch to hundreds of thousands of guests. Dan’s attention to detail, guest service, and high quality of food remains with each visit. Dan also had ownership in Union Broadcasting, which operates Sports Radio 810.
Dan’s love of baseball was evident throughout his life – from playing as a child in Chicago, to playing on the varsity team at Tulane as a walk-on, to cheering on the southside Chicago White Sox and coaching his sons team in Kansas City. Gerson founded the St. Joseph Mustangs in 2008, with the team beginning play in 2009. Under Gerson’s ownership, the team brought seven MINK League Championships to the community. Gerson sold the team to current team owner Ky Turner in December of 2021. Turner had worked for Gerson since the team’s beginning in 2009.
Gerson’s impact in St. Joseph was not limited to his ownership of the team. He had an affinity for animals, and made a number of donations to the St. Joseph Animal Shelter, including paying for a number of adoptions. Dan donated thousands of Mustangs tickets to the St. Joseph community, as well making financial donations to students for various causes. Dan believed in using the Mustangs as a platform for goodwill and community involvement – something that the community could be proud of. He also believed in supporting local businesses, and utilized St. Joseph businesses for as many expenses as possible. Dan never purchased a Mustangs championship ring for himself, although he purchased them for a number of Mustangs fans over the years, as he was always so thankful for the support the team received.
Dan came to St. Joseph because he saw a beautiful, historic baseball venue, Phil Welch Stadium. The city council, the mayor, the city manager – Dan hated to name names out of fear of forgetting somebody, but he would often cite former Mayor Ken Shearin, Chuck Kempf, Vince Capell, and the City Council, including Gary Roach, as people who were largely responsible for helping him bring the Mustangs to St. Joe, and improving Phil Welch Stadium with items such as an updated press box, party deck area, concrete patio areas, and more. Dan also would mention the history of the St. Joseph Saints and the Diamond Club fanbase, and the tradition of baseball in this community.
Dan’s footprint and impact on the community will remain. The Mustangs have gone on to achieve success that could only be predicted by few besides Dan, who combined his business knowledge with his love of baseball – to see the team not only win championships on the field under managers Matt Johnson and Johnny Coy, but also success off the field. Gerson hired Rick Muntean, bringing him from the Kansas City T- Bones (now Monarchs), who would serve as GM until 2014, when Turner took over the GM role. The Mustangs have placed in the top 10 nationally among summer college baseball teams in attendance almost annually over the past decade.
Dan’s role as owner was extensive. He named the team the Mustangs, and also put in a large sum of money into Phil Welch Stadium on various projects. At times, he also had a hand in promotions – such as the night the Mustangs postgame fireworks display was synchronized to the entirety of the song Free Bird. Dan was always adamant in recognizing the local host families, who house players each summer. He would always give a speech on the field prior to the last Mustangs regular season home game, where he would thank everyone for their involvement and support of the team, no matter how big or small their role was. It was important to Dan to recognize everyone equally. Once Dan sold the team, he wanted to remain involved in the St. Joseph community. He would still support various causes, and wanted to use his season tickets as the “Founders Seats,” and have those seats be donated to a family or cause that was in need. Dan also founded the St. Joseph Baseball Hall of Fame, and was always on hand to congratulate and honor those who were inducted each year.
“Without Dan Gerson, there is no Mustangs baseball. The impact that he has had on this community is something that will continue for decades to come. Dan took a chance on this town, on me, and so many others. He served as a friend and mentor, someone that I still spoke with weekly. He was passionate about people, and his rule was always ‘if something is good for the customer, then it was worth doing.’ He was very generous – more generous than he would ever let anyone know, and would pass the attention to someone else. He was always looking for a way to help somebody.” said Turner.
“Dan would discuss travel tips, where to find the best food in KC or Chicago, or his love of banana cream pie,” Turner continued. “He would share promotions or ideas that he saw the Cubs, White Sox, or Royals doing that he thought would be good for the Mustangs. As a Chicago White Sox and Bears fan, Dan loved to banter about the Chiefs and Royals, although he actually was a Royals season ticket holder. Dan was adamant about the seat location, although he never attended a game. He used those tickets to give to his employees. What made Dan unique was his business acumen and position, although you could also find him watching a South Park or Leave it to Beaver marathon in his free time. He could also quote the entire Step Brothers movie, as well as many SNL skits. Dan found humor in life, and could find the positive in almost any situation. Dan could have easily shut down the Mustangs during or after the Covid pandemic, but he wanted to see the team through. He also could have sold the team to a number of people. His advice and mentoring are something that I will forever be thankful for. Dan would probably not approve, but we are going to honor him appropriately through the Mustangs and forever let his impact be known.”
In Dan’s memory, the team is encouraging people to make a donation of any size to the St. Joseph Animal Shelter. Donations can be made online at https://petforu.com/donate/. For those who donate, please be sure to include it is dedicated in memory of Dan Gerson. The Mustangs will match up to $2009, in honor of the year the Mustangs began play under Gerson and to continue the impact Dan has had in the St. Joseph community.