TERRE HAUTE —
Yogi Berra. Joe Girardi. Joe Torre. Mike Matheny. Mike Scioscia. Clint Hurdle. Bruce Bochy. Former catchers tend to make quality managers at the big-league level.
It’s not unique at baseball’s training-ground levels as well.
Terre Haute Rex owner Brian Dorsett had a 13-year professional career as a catcher and his time as Rex manager was a successful one, taking the team to the Prospect League playoffs twice and winning the Manager of the Year award in 2012.
As the leader of the collegiate league franchise’s new ownership group, Dorsett is happy to hand the reins of the team to another former catcher.
Bobby Segal, a Rex assistant back in 2011, will lead the team into this new period of summer collegiate league baseball at Bob Warn Field.
“Being a catcher, he sees the game differently from anybody else. The counts, calling a key pitch in a key situation, handling the pitching staff,” Dorsett said. “You want to take care of college pitchers. He’ll be a guy that adheres to the strict standards a lot of [college coaches] would expect.”
Segal was a catcher at Indiana University — primarily as a back-up — before pursuing a coaching career. He’s spent the past two years as an assistant at Wabash Valley Junior College as recruiting coordinator, hitting coach and working with the catchers.
Segal, 29, said he’s been a head coach on the interim level. The challenge of blending a group of young men together to play a 60-game schedule is one that can help him develop his skills to propel his career forward.
“I’m ready. Everyone thinks you jump into coaching and you’re a head coach in two or three years. It doesn’t work that way. I’ve been grinding it out as an assistant. When it’s my time, I’ll be prepared as much as possible,” Segal said.
Segal spent last summer as an assistant at the independent professional league. He helped guide the Southshore Railcats to an Ammerican Association championship. Segal
“When I was on my way back through after winning the championship — it was an awesome summer — I stopped through to see Brian and see how things were going at the dealership,” Segal said. “I had heard rumblings about the Rex not being in existence. Brian said actually, ‘I’m going to take over with some new oners. The talk progressed to, ‘Are you interested in becoming the manager.’ I said without a doubt, I said I’d love to think about it. Just had to make sure I was all in,” Segal said.
Dorsett said Segal was a great fit for the direction of the team.
“He was my first choice. You’ve got to be able to talk to players. You’ve got to know what it’s like with today’s players. Know what it’s like to be in a wooden-bat league as a college player,” Dorsett said.
“He understands our philosophy on how we want the team to play, as far as the conduct of the player, the on and off the field. He likes to run as well. He likes to get players moving on the bases,” Dorsett said. “Like last year, I knew Ronnie [Prettyman] would do a great job. Bobby’s just going to do a phenomenal job.”
Segal likes the situation of working for Dorsett again.
“When I was an assistant with him, that was the most enjoyable experience I had was just bouncing ideas off him,” Segal said. “Then you’d jump on the bus and it was: ‘What do you think about this guy? What does he need to do in his early work tomorrow? What are his strengths and weaknesses? He’s a great guy with unbelievable morals and he’s been down that road before. I’ll definitely look to him to mentor me through this process.”
The Rex roster is about two-thirds full, with outfielders Landon Curry, Tony Rosselli pitcher Brad Lumbard are among the three Indiana State players that ISU coach Mitch Hannahs recommended, Segal said. Summer collegiate league teams are allowed to have four players from one college team on the same squad.
Rosselli will make for at least one Terre Haute native on the team, which has been a tradition since Brandon Dorsett and Koby Kraemer were on the inaugural Rex squad.
“I think it would be a nice touch to have some Terre Haute boys coming home for the summer,” Segal said. “I know we had Jacob Hayes a couple years ago. I know those guys take a lot of pride in coming to the ballpark every day.”
Maintaining a successful and professional atmosphere are Segal’s foremost goals.
“Keep developing and bring your own twists to the way you manage or run a ballclub,” Segal said. Taking that next step to running a team for that long, I’m looking forward to it. There’s a lot of expectations, not only from the upper management, but from the community. They want to support a team that’s not only doing the right things off the field but ultimately performing between the white lines.”