Later, Muterspaw remembers watching as Greg Schwarber threw his son Wiffle Balls in the police circle parking lot and later pitched to him at Smith Park.
Kyle Joseph Schwarber is all grown up now and still turns heads, on and off the baseball diamond.
Schwarber, 30, is in his ninth Major League Baseball season, and due to his work in the Middletown community, was voted the Best of Butler County celebrity by Journal-News readers.
When Muterspaw, a Middletown city council member and former police chief, was told Schwarber had won the award, he said: “How can he not win it?”
Muterspaw pointed to Schwarber’s volunteer work with Middie Way Baseball, his interactions with hometown fans at community events and his success on the field for reasons why he was the perfect pick as the county’s best celebrity.
“He represents everything you want in someone from Middletown,” said Muterspaw, a Middletown native. “He’s genuinely nice to people who can’t do anything for him. That’s the best way to describe him. It’s real with him. We are so proud of him. He represents us well.”
His father, Greg, understands why Kyle has invested himself in the community by supporting Middie Way Baseball, a grassroots organization that’s reviving Little League Baseball in the city. Kyle Schwarber said he wanted to get involved in Middletown baseball after he retired, but when organizers said they needed his help immediately, he agreed as long as it was “done right,” his father said.
When the Middletown Division of Fire gave a $16,000 check — proceeds from its annual golf tournament — in 2021 to Middie Way Baseball, Schwarber was there to accept.
“He knows where he came from and he’s proud of where he’s from,” said Greg Schwarber, commissioner of Middie Way Baseball. “He’s invested in the community. He wants to give back because he has received so much from the city.”
Schwarber and his wife, Paige, Middletown High School sweethearts, have built a house in the region and Schwarber was seen during the off-season working out at Wade E. Miller Gym and Barnitz Stadium.
About 300 players participated in second-year Middie Way Baseball program and the organization is compiling all-star teams, said Pastor Lamar Ferrell from Berachah Church, a sponsor of the baseball league.
Ferrell called Schwarber “a great ambassador for the game, the community, the city.”
Some athletes of Schwarber’s status and with his salary can’t wait to see their hometown in their rearview mirrors.
“Celebrities like to forget where they came from,” Ferrell said. “He has not. He has used his platform to make Middletown a better place.”
Now in his ninth season, Schwarber’s teams have qualified for the postseason six times, including the 2016 and 2022 World Series with the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively. He’s in the second year of a four-year, $80 million contract with the Phillies.
In his career, he has hit 214 homers, driven in 477 runs, while hitting .229.