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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Frank Kellner saw 8 pro seasons, 5 in hometown, coached

Frank Kellner 1990 Osceola Astros card

After going undrafted out of college, Frank Kellner finally caught on with the Astros in late 1989 out of a tryout camp. A year later, in late 1990, he not only found himself at AAA, but he found himself playing in his hometown of Tucson, The Arizona Daily Star wrote.

His manager Bob Skinner liked what he saw, The Daily Star wrote.

"Somewhere along the line he's had good teaching," Skinner told The Daily Star. "He came from Class A and that's rare. But he has fit right in, and he knows how to play the game. That's unusual for a player with his experience."

Kellner eventually got plenty more experience, just all of it in the minors. He saw eight pro seasons, AAA in five of them. He never made the bigs.

Kellner's career began in 1990, signed the previous year by the Astros as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech University.

He started with the Astros in 1990 at high-A Osceola. He saw 109 games there and made the jump to Tucson for 19 more contests. He went 18 for 60 for a .300 average at Tucson.

He then split 1991 between Osceola and AA Jackson, then played 1992 and 1993 at Jackson. He hit .238 his first full year there and .308 his second.

For 1994, Kellner returned to Tucson. That April, he spoke to The Tucson Citizen about returning to play where he grew up. 

"There'll always be someone here for every game," Kellner told The Citizen. "It's going to be great playing at home."

He hit .297 in 106 games that year. He saw another 28 games at Tucson in 1995 and 96 in 1996. At the close of 1996, Tucson manager Tim Tolman, who'd briefly had to release Kellner before a player injury gave Kellner another chance, praised Kellner for his work ethic to The Daily Star.

"He's just an amazing guy," Tolman told The Daily Star. "He comes out, and he does everything you ask for. He never misses signs, never misses a cutoff, he's always in the game."

Kellner left the Astros system for 1997 as they left Tucson. The Brewers moved into Tucson and Kellner signed with them. He saw 67 games to finish out his AAA time. He hit .287, including one game that July where he went 6 for 6. He then ended his career that year with 12 more games with independent Rio Grande Valley.

Kellner then turned college coach. He coached at Louisiana Tech, then spent 20 years with Temple College, amassing 657 wins. In July 2023, he was named head coach at St. Mary's University in Texas.

Frank Kellner 1990 Osceola Astros card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,337
Made the Majors:1,399-32.3%
Never Made Majors:2,938-67.7%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:569
10+ Seasons in the Minors:352

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