Jan 04, 2022 9:38 PM

St. Joseph Mustangs change ownership, GM Ky Turner takes over as new owner

Posted Jan 04, 2022 9:38 PM
Ky Turner will take over as the new owner of the St. Joseph Mustangs in 2022. Courtesy photo.
Ky Turner will take over as the new owner of the St. Joseph Mustangs in 2022. Courtesy photo.

By TOMMY REZAC

St. Joseph Post

The St. Joseph Mustangs announced a change in the team's ownership Tuesday.

Dan Gerson, who has owned the team since its inception in 2009, announced on Facebook Tuesday afternoon that he has sold the team to general manager Ky Turner - a St. Joseph native who has been in the GM role since 2014.

"For me, it's a tremendous honor," Turner said. "Obviously I feel a little of bit of pressure to continue this, but it'll be a lot of fun and I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to do so."

The talk of passing the torch to Turner had been there for about 3-4 years. But when COVID-19 canceled the season in 2020, Gerson thought it best to hold off on such a big change at that time.

"It wouldn't have been fair to Ky to put him in a situation where we didn't even play for a year," Gerson pointed out. "So, we got through 2020 and early in 2021, we knew that this is what was going to happen."

Turner has been involved with the Mustangs in multiple capacities since the team's first season in 2009. Since then, Gerson watched Turner do any job or assignment he could get his hands on. Now, it's Turner who'll be making the big decisions.

"When you make yourself indispensable in a company, you're always creating space for yourself," Gerson said. "Ky just worked hard, did whatever was necessary and look where he is today."

Beyond that, Gerson emphasized that Turner was absolutely the right fit to be the team's next owner.

"Ky was the right guy for this," Gerson said. "He was the right guy for St. Joe. I didn't want to sell it to an out-of-town person. So, it all just fell into place. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that Ky is the right person to carry on the Mustangs."

While there is some added pressure with this new role, Turner knows he can lean on Gerson for guidance as he's done in years past.

"Dan is still in my corner as a mentor to answer any questions," Turner said. "So, I like to set the bar high and have big goals and we're excited to push those goals."

The Mustangs have won seven MINK League championships in 12 years, including in 2021, when the Mustangs defeated Sedalia, 12-2, in the championship series on July 30 at Phil Welch Stadium.

The team also had an eighth straight top 10 finish in national attendance rankings for summer collegiate baseball teams.

The Mustangs finished the 2021 season, averaging 2,246 fans per game. A total of 53,904 people walked through the gates at Phil Welch Stadium last summer. According to BaseballDigest.com, St. Joseph ranked ninth nationally and first in the MINK League in per game attendance.

Gerson says those numbers represent something rare.

"How many things in St. Joe over the years get unanimous support?" he pondered. "And we got it from that original city government, and I'll always be thankful, because otherwise, this would have never been successful."

When asked what he'll miss the most about being the owner, Gerson thought about the attendance ratings and all of the championships. But, he'll more so miss the everyday conversations at the ballpark.

"Those are the kind of things I'll miss," he said. "Talking to (coach) Johnny (Coy) about baseball and just those things and seeing the fans in the stands. But, the moment I start thinking I'm going to miss it, I know that I'll still be around."

The Mustangs will begin their 13th season in 2022.

Stock photo.
Stock photo.

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.