News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Given to Fly

July 9, 2011

GIVEN TO FLY: Major leaguers John, Dorsett meet up at tonight’s game

TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute’s only two big leaguers of the last 50 years — Tommy John and Brian Dorsett — will catch up with one another today.

Dorsett, manager of the Terre Haute Rex baseball team, was a fan of John’s growing up in North Terre Haute.

“I’m like telling people Tommy and I lived on the same street. I thought that was pretty cool. Since I was a kid, I always looked up to him,” Dorsett said.

John was a starting pitcher for 26 seasons in the major leagues, the fourth-longest career in the history of the game. Dorsett looks forward to seeing his friend today.

Terre Haute baseball fans may do the same today. John will visit the Terre Haute Children’s Museum at 3 p.m. prior to throwing out the first pitch at the Rex home game against DeKalb County at 7:05 at Bob Warn Field.

“He knows a lot about baseball. Has a great baseball mind,” Dorsett said.

Dorsett played parts of eight seasons in the major leagues after getting drafted by one of John’s six teams, the Oakland Athletics.

John is best known for his time with the New York Yankees. He made two of his four All-Star Game appearances with the Yankees, twice finishing in the top five in voting for the American League Cy Young Award.

Dorsett spent time as the Yankees’ backup catcher during John’s second stint with the team in 1989.

“I caught him a couple times in spring training,” Dorsett recalled. “I caught him for two different starts. He still had that sinker.”

Dorsett remembers one particular time John showed some gamesmanship.

“A guy had shown up one of the Yankee players after hitting a home run the year before. Tommy wanted to send him a message,” Dorsett said. “It was one of those times I had to chuckle.”

John won 288 career games, three times winning 20 or more.

“To be in the same clubhouse with him, that was a thrill,” Dorsett said.

•  New shortstop — The Terre Haute Rex will add shortstop Stephen Bruno to the roster. Bruno was the starting shortstop for College World Series qualifier Virgnia at the beginning of the Cavaliers’ season but suffered a hamstring injury.

Dorsett said Bruno could see action as soon as next week. Dorsett is looking to boost the hitting production from the middle infielders.

Bruno hit .388 for Virginia as a freshman in 2010 with three home runs and 30 RBIs.

• Powerful youngsters — In 11-and-12-year-old Little League district tournament action this week, two Terre Haute North players combined to accomplish a rare feat.

Austin Turner and Ty Lautenschlager hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth consecutive day.

The fourth back-to-back homers came Friday in the continuation of Thursday’s game against Clinton.

The right-handed Turner is the son of Terre Haute North High School baseball coach Shawn Turner. The left-handed Lautenschlager plays pitcher, first base and catcher.

Congratulations to these young hitters with bright futures.

Follow Craig Pearson online at blogs.tribstar.com/craigpearson. E-mail to craig.pearson@tribstar.com or call (812) 231-4357.

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