After over 60 members of the Belle Plaine baseball community and other friends and family members wrote letters on his behalf, Belle Plaine baseball pillar Dave “Greek” Wagner will be inducted into the Minnesota Baseball Association Hall of Fame in St. Cloud on September 21.
Wagner was one of five individuals selected for this year’s induction ceremony. Greek will follow in the footsteps of former Belle Plaine baseball greats Fred Keup Sr., Joe Hahn, Omy Hahn, Gene O’Brien, and Gerry “Mize” Meyer.
Wagner has played amateur baseball in the area for 52 years, including 15 seasons as a member of the Belle Plaine Tigers town team.
“If it wasn’t fun, I would have quit a long time ago,” Wagner said.
Fellow baseball enthusiast and Belle Plaine native Tom Redman, who helped coordinate the support effort for Wagner’s induction, indicated that the common denominator in many of the letters referenced Greek’s focus on always having fun and respecting the game of baseball.
His baseball prowess included two All-Conference selections as a catcher at Belle Plaine High School, in addition to playing college ball at the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State College.
Wagner’s town team career started in 1967 and included stints at Belle Plaine and Green Isle.
The Hall of Fame selection committee values community involvement as well as baseball statistics in their review of candidates. Wagner was noted as having volunteered with the Belle Plaine Fire Department, Boy Scouts, American Legion, VFW, and numerous outdoor conservation and hunting organizations throughout his life. He holds a M.A. Degree in Public Safety Administration from the University of St. Thomas and spent his employments years in law enforcement and is a veteran having served in Vietnam in 1972.
Wagner called the announcement a “pretty humbling experience” and expressed his gratitude for “all the people that wrote letters and sent a good thought.”
Wagner stated that he attributes a portion of his success to those along the way who challenged him and brought the best out of him, including coaches and opponents.
“You don’t get there by yourself. You have to have help along the way,” Wagner said. “I was lucky enough to have that.”
Greek will be honored as part of Tiger Alumni Night festivities this Friday, which begins at 7 p.m. at Tiger Field.