By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
As part of our 35th-anniversary celebration, we asked Darren Brucken to take part in our longest-tenured league president profiles and he kindly responded. Darren has been in charge of the Terre Haute MSBL for the past 18 years and sees no end in sight, and was also inducted into the MSBL National Hall of Fame in 2013.
Darren responded to our questions with simply a dialogue as if we were chatting in a dugout or over a tailgate somewhere. After reviewing his responses, I saw no reason to change a thing or format his answers to coordinate with specific questions. So, I now present a conversation with Darren Brucken in his own words. After reading his success story and reviewing his deep feelings of commitment, it is easy to see why the Terre Haute MSBL remains one of MSBL’s longest-tenured leagues. Thank you, Darren!
I’ve been involved in our league since our year of inception, 1991. Our founding President, Jim Tanner, sought me out to help him in the late 90s, recognizing my passion for the league, my relationships with other players and managers, and my love of baseball. As he was transitioning away from some of the responsibilities, he asked if I would be interested in succeeding him, stepping up from my vice-presidential role to head up the league. I was honored with the vote of confidence from all the managers and players and assumed the role in around 2006 or so, from what I recall.
I took on the charge of running the league, improving upon past success, and helping grow the league. I was already deeply invested in not only our local MSBL affiliate but in the National landscape as well, having played in multiple World Series and regional tournaments at that time.
In my tenure, I have learned there is absolutely no more powerful tool than my relationship with each member of my league- down to every player. I’ve made it a point to be approachable, competent, helpful, responsible, and consummately driven to succeed. My guys (hopefully) see my commitment every day. That builds a sense of reciprocation amongst the players, managers, umpires, and even their families. That can also be said for maintaining an open relationship with our National Officers and support staff.
My advice to any league leader, be it a new president or a tenured one- be exactly what you would want your league president to be, and settle for nothing short of that aspiration, each and every day. I’ve learned a President must be responsible, resourceful, and organized. It’s frustrating at times. It can be a lonely sense of responsibility at times- but I take pride in knowing I am doing everything in my power to allow 150 men- my friends, my teammates, to keep playing the game we all love.
In my 33 years involved with the Terre Haute MSBL, I’ve made lifelong friends, both locally, regionally, and nationally. My entire adult life playing ball has blessed me with memories of team success, and personal accomplishments, helped me attain leadership skills, and allowed me to have a whole lot of fun in the sun with my brothers on the fields!
I will never forget how I felt as I sat in the bleachers of Tempe Diablo Stadium, staring at my World Series Ring alongside my Dad as “Who’s your Daddy” played on the loudspeakers in 2002. I also will forever remember hoisting my Gold Glove MSBL Hall of Fame award for photographs in 2013, on those same steps of Tempe Diablo.
Honestly, I cannot imagine the sadness that may come if I can no longer lace up my spikes, grab a bat, and head to the park on any given day. I am driven each day by my sense of responsibility to my fellow players to keep working hard to ensure the success of our local league, fulfilling my role to the best of my abilities to make sure my guys…my baseball family…can enjoy that same level of joy of hearing a fastball pop a glove, or watching a line drive rip into an outfield gap while guys round the bases. I’m honored to do the job, honored to have the trust of my local guys and our national leaders, and honored to have been profiled in our newsletter!