TERRE HAUTE —
When Terre Haute’s Brian Dorsett played professional baseball in the 1980s and 1990s, he traveled all over the country and stayed in cities of all sizes.
Selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 10th round of the 1983 amateur draft out of Indiana State University, the 6-foot-3 Dorsett worked his way through the minor leagues and played catcher, first base and occasionally designated hitter during an eight-year Major League Baseball career. Included were stints with the Cleveland Indians, California Angels, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs.
Once Dorsett retired as a player in 1996 — after compiling nine home runs, 51 runs batted in and 38 runs scored in the majors — he could have worked in the front office or on the field for any number of pro organizations.
But he chose to remain in his western Indiana hometown, where he was born and where he graduated from Terre Haute North High School in 1979.
Dorsett said he and his wife Gina purchased a home in Terre Haute after they started having children.
“We felt like we wanted to raise our family here because this was where her immediate family was living and this was where my immediate family was living … and we loved Terre Haute,” Dorsett told the Tribune-Star over the weekend.
“There were plenty of opportunities to leave… But family has always been important to Gina and I. We were both born and raised here.”
Now 49, Dorsett has been anything but silent since he again made Terre Haute his full-time home.
As anyone who’s read the Tribune-Star, watched Terre Haute television or listened to local radio in the last 10 years should know, he owns the Dorsett Mitsubishi auto dealership. Since he purchased it in 2000 and moved it into its current building in southern Vigo County in 2001, his voice has frequently appeared in TV and radio commercials.
“Drive it home with Dorsett,” anyone?
Unlike some retired athletes, Dorsett saved a good chunk of his money, so that made the transition from baseball player to dealership owner relatively smooth. (According to Baseball-Reference.com, he earned approximately $210,000 from the Cubs in 1996, his final major-league season.)
After Dorsett retired as a player, he worked with his father Larry at Dorsett Auto Sales in 1997.
“I had grown up in the business,” Brian Dorsett recalled, “and my dad gave me advice on how to move up in the business.”
The natural next step for a well-known, financially stable, recently retired pro athlete who had grown up around cars was to buy his own dealership and put his name on it.
“I felt like Terre Haute was a good place to build on from what my family had started in the used-car business,” Dorsett explained.
The dealership isn’t Dorsett’s only connection to cars in the Wabash Valley.
In early 2008, he became a partner with “Radio Voice of the Indy 500” Mike King and Indy Racing League driver Davey Hamilton in what is now known as Action Promotions, LLC, which is in its third season of promoting races at the Terre Haute Action Track.
Dorsett remembers telling King when he first approached him about joining the partnership, “I’m real interested.”
Dorsett is glad he and his partners could help revive interest in the track, adding that he wanted to show out-of-towners that Terre Haute had a lot to be proud of.
Just last week, however, Track Enterprises, Inc., took over promotional reins at the Action Track for the rest of 2010. But the Action Promotions partners will stay involved to make sure the remaining races go off without a hitch.
Dorsett said Track Enterprises, owned by longtime Midwest promoter and former Action Track promoter Bob Sargent, and the O’Connor family from Kokomo should do a good job of finishing out the racing season at the historic half-mile dirt oval.
“They have all the experience with the [track preparation] machinery,” Dorsett mentioned. “We, along with USAC [the U.S. Auto Club], thought this was going to be the best solution to put a good product out there for the fans.”
Dorsett said he plans to sit down with King and Hamilton later this year to discuss whether they want to help promote races at the track in 2011.
“It’s a bigger challenge than anybody could expect, but it’s something I’ll never regret,” noted Dorsett, who had been a racing fan since he was a child. “It’s been a labor of love.”
As if Dorsett didn’t have enough on his plate, he hosted an afternoon sports talk show called “The Drive” on ESPN Radio (WBOW-AM 1300 and WSDX-AM 1130) for about three years, working with different partners at times as well as flying solo other times.
“I really enjoyed doing it,” Dorsett insisted. “It was only one hour a day and sometimes I could do it from my office at the dealership.”
His guests included Cam Cameron, Steve Weatherford, Tony McGee, Dick Vitale, Bobby Leonard, Larry Bird and Tommy John as well as a few well-known race drivers.
Dorsett already had accumulated some media experience by helping broadcast Indianapolis Indians games on TV since the late 1990s, a job he had dreamed of doing since he was a youngster.
When Dorsett played for the Class AA Huntsville Stars in 1985, he practiced for his future broadcasting adventures by doing fake interviews with the bus driver and providing fictional commentary for NASCAR races while the team took long rides to its next game.
Back to the present, Dorsett and ESPN Radio parted ways Jan. 1.
“My commitments in 2010 were changing,” he explained. “It made it easier to transition into managing the Rex [by not doing the radio show].”
Oh yeah, there’s also the Terre Haute Rex, the Prospect League baseball franchise for college players that debuted this summer. Dorsett was hired in January to manage the team.
“It’s a big commitment,” he reflected, “but it’s one I really enjoy.”
Last Wednesday, for example, Dorsett left Terre Haute at 10 a.m. for an evening game at Quincy, Ill. For weeknight home games, he usually arrives at Bob Warn Field at 3:30 or 3:45 p.m.
Even though Dorsett no longer has the radio gig, how does he balance family responsibilities, the car dealership, Action Track decisions and the Rex?
“I’ve got an awesome wife,” he emphasized. “She’s tremendous. I’ve also got a great business relationship with my dad and my managers and employees at the car dealership.”
Dorsett admitted that he’ll need to miss the July 14 Indiana Sprint Week event at the Action Track because he’ll be managing a Rex game at the Dubois County Bombers. But that’s to be expected, especially considering the new promotional arrangement at the track.
Back to the Rex, Dorsett said the toughest part of managing so far has been seeing players improperly execute the fundamentals of baseball.
“We’re having to teach them a lot about having to be an everyday player,” he said.
As with any baseball manager, Dorsett acknowledged that he becomes animated with his players on occasion to get their attention after they do something wrong.
“You want to make sure that when you pick those spots [to advise players on how to perform better],” he said, “it’s something the whole team can benefit from.”
Even when Dorsett becomes aggravated by a mistake on the field, he never wants to show up a specific player.
“We [on the coaching staff] feel like we’re teaching them about the game,” he said. “If we have to correct them and we have to be a little louder or more demonstrative than usual, we try to end it on a positive note.”
One of the Rex players that Dorsett manages is his son, Brandon, a right-handed pitcher.
“When he was younger, playing Little League and Babe Ruth, I was fortunate enough to coach him in that,” Brian Dorsett reflected. “Now doing this [with the Rex], it’s an extra blessing… It’s a pretty special opportunity that I’m thrilled about.”
Overall, Dorsett is thankful for being able to work with Gene Crume, president of the ISU Foundation (which owns the Rex), and Roland Shelton, general manager of the team.
“I love it,” Dorsett stressed. “Being a player and being a manager are completely different, though. I think losses come a little bit harder as a manager than as a player. You want the kids to enjoy that gratification when you do win. You get close to them and you want them to enjoy it all.”
Dorsett also expressed gratitude to Wabash Valley fans for being so supportive of this new team, which comes off its mid-season break Thursday with a home game against the Richmond River Rats.
“We have to have some entertainment in Terre Haute,” he pointed out. “Baseball is just a great form of summer entertainment.”
TERRE HAUTE —
When Terre Haute’s Brian Dorsett played professional baseball in the 1980s and 1990s, he traveled all over the country and stayed in cities of all sizes.
- Terre Haute Rex
Rex fall to Miners 4-3 in 11 innings, forcing them into tie with Quincy for first place
The West Virginia Miners tallied the go-ahead run with two outs in the top of the 11th inning Wednesday night at Bob Warn Field, then held Terre Haute scoreless in the bottom half of the frame to post a 4-3 baseball victory and shove the Rex into a virtual tie for first place with the Quincy Gems in the Prospect League West Division second-half standings.
Terre Haute is now 18-8 in the second half, while Quincy is 19-9.
Sabo's 11th-inning double keeps Rex in first place
Ryan Sabo, a Southern Illinois infielder, was one of several Terre Haute Rex players to come up short in RBI situations through nine innings, but he redeemed himself in the bottom of the 11th inning with a two-out double to center field to lift the Rex to a 2-1 victory over West Virginia.
Bullpen mates: Three relievers coming on strong down stretch for Rex
The Terre Haute Rex pitching staff ranks fifth among the 12 teams in the Prospect League in earned-run average this season and first in the league with only four home runs allowed all summer. But the Rex pitchers might be the best in the league the past two weeks as the team has had two shutouts and two games with one run allowed in the past week.
Metro: Rex maintain pace in West race
The Terre Haute Rex maintained pace in the tight Prospect League West Division race with a 2-1 victory over the Springfield Sliders at Robin Roberts Stadium.
Rex pull even with Gems in West Division
Rex beat Quincy 2-1.
Prospect League: Rex crush Cavemen
One day after an errror-filled 13-inning loss to Springfield at home, the Terre Haute Rex cleaned up their act on the road. There were no errors, and for the Hannibal Cavemen, no runs either. Terre Haute's six-run fourth inning broke the game open as the Rex won 10-0 late Tuesday.
Rex recover with 10-0 win over Hannibal
Rex beat Hannibal 10-0 on Tuesday.
Newcomer pitches Rex to win at Danville
Clint Chestnut made his first start as a member of the Terre Haute Rex a good one Saturday evening, allowing just three hits in 5 2/3 innings as the Rex won 2-1 at Danville.
Lockdown: Rex’s Jacknewitz stifles Cavemen before record home crowd
Greg Jacknewitz had his best start of the summer, taking a shutout into the eighth inning to earn a big ovation from the biggest crowd in the five years of the Terre Haute Rex franchise.
Rex beat Chillicothe 3-1
The Terre Haute defense backed Andrew Moralez with four double plays in his initial trip to the mound for the Rex on Thursday at Bob Warn Field as a season-high 1,184 fans watched a three-game losing streak come to a close.
Gems take two from Rex, drop Terre Haute to second place
The Terre Haute Rex managed just one run in 16 innings Tuesday at Quincy, dropping both games of a doubleheader to the Gems, who took over first place in the West Division with the wins.
Gems cut Rex hold on first place to 1/2 game
As good as the Terre Haute Rex have been in the second half of the Prospect League season — the Rex had lost just once entering Saturday's game against the Quincy Gems — the Gems themselves have given the Rex little reason to feel comfortable atop the West Division.
Metro sports: Rosselli, Biechler capture Prospect League honors
The Terre Haute Rex swept the Prospect League Player of the Week honors this week.
Rex return from All-Star break with a win at Danville
The Terre Haute Rex returned to action on Thursday in winning fashion as they defeated Danville 4-1.
Prospect League All-Star Game: East makes early lead stick in 9-2 victory
The West Division will have to overcome the East Division having home-field advantage for the second straight year in the Prospect League's championship series. The East jumped out to an early lead on its way to a 9-2 victory in the Prospect League all-star baseball game Tuesday night.
Like the Butler Blue Sox and West Virginia Miners in the East, Terre Haute can turn its focus to battling for a second-half title to earn a playoff berth.
Rosselli gets close to winning Derby, but River Rat triumphs
Terre Haute’s Tony Rosselli didn’t disappoint the hometown baseball fans Tuesday night, powering his way to eight home runs at Bob Warn Field.
But Rosselli lost in a five-out tiebreaker round in the finals to Kyle Jackson of the Richmond River Rats to take second place in the Prospect League’s Home Run Derby.
Shining stars: Rex manager Segal to lead West Division tonight at Bob Warn Field
Terre Haute Rex first-year manager Bobby Segal will guide the West Division against the East Division, managed by Chillicothe’s Greg Cypret, in the Prospect League all-star baseball game, scheduled for tonight at Terre Haute’s Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
Metro sports: McVicker brings home 3 gold medals
Jack McVicker of Terre Haute won three gold medals in the IBJJF Paris Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament on June 28-29 in France.
Indiana State's Rosselli, Zahn providing power boost to Rex
The Terre Haute Rex will have a pair of Indiana State baseball players among its 11 representatives in Tuesday’s Prospect League All-Star Game at Bob Warn Field.
First baseman Jeff Zahn will start at first base for the West Division squad coached by Bobby Segal, and Terre Haute native Tony Rosselli will be a reserve outfielder.
Rosselli hit his fifth and sixth home runs of the season Saturday to lead the Rex to their sixth straight win behind big offensive performances. The Rex have totaled 51 runs during their past five wins to start the second half of the season.
Rex roll to sixth straight victory Saturday
When the Terre Haute Rex get five runs in a game? Bank on a victory. Often times, they get far more than that.
So it was again on Saturday. A four-run fourth inning helped the Rex defeat Hannibal 8-2 in front of 1,028 fans at Bob Warn Field.
Rex roll to 18-2 triumph
The Terre Haute Rex cruised to an 18-2 victory over Springfield on Friday night, one night after scoring 15 runs.
ISU players key Rex to 3-0 start in second half
The Terre Haute Rex improved to 3-0 in the second half of the Prospect League schedule with a 5-1 victory Wednesday at Quincy.
Rex pick up 5-2 victory at Quincy
The Terre Haute Rex (18-13) and the Quincy Gems (17-12) each put runners in scoring position on Tuesday, but the Terre Haute Rex capitalized on more RBI opportunities, pulling out a 5-2 win at Quincy Stadium.
Rex get 10 players on West All-Stars
The Terre Haute Rex will have 10 players take the field July 8 for the Prospect League All-Star Game at Bob Warn Field.
Manuel DeJesus, who is batting .368 on the season, will be in the starting lineup for the West Division, which will be led by Rex manager Bobby Segal.
Rex third baseman Ryan Sabo, a .244 hitter, will start for the West, along with designated hitter Cayce Bredleau, a .276 hitter with a home run and 16 RBI through 28 games.
Rex down Hannibal Cavemen, 7-5
The Terre Haute Rex got back on the winning track Monday night in Prospect League baseball, scoring twice in the top of the first inning and leading the rest of the way for a 7-5 win over the Hannibal Cavemen.
Dans’ Sutton shuts down Rex
The Terre Haute Rex needed victories Friday night against Danville and Sunday against Hannibal to clinch a Prospect League playoff spot as the first-half West Division champion.
Rex win 16-4 at Hannibal
n Terre Haute 16, Hannibal 4 — At Hannibal, Mo., the visiting Rex scored six runs in the top of the second inning Thursday night and coasted home to salvage the final game of a three-game series.
Rex fall again to Cavemen, dropping into tie for first place
The Terre Haute Rex lost for the third straight night Wednesday, falling 8-2 in the second game of a three-game series at Hannibal, Mo.
The Rex jumped ahead of the Cavemen early in the game with a 2-1 lead in the second, but Hannibal scored three in the fifth and four in the seventh to take the victory.
Rex drop first of three-game series to Cavemen
The Terre Haute Rex dropped their second straight game Tuesday night at Hannibal, Mo., falling to the Cavemen by a 5-1 score.
Gardner comes home to haunt former team
A hometown player and former team member halted the Terre Haute Rex winning streak in Prospect League baseball at Bob Warn Field on Monday as Cody Gardner contributed two big hits to a 4-1 win for the visiting Danville Dans.
- More Terre Haute Rex Headlines
- Rex fall to Miners 4-3 in 11 innings, forcing them into tie with Quincy for first place