In 1991 a lifelong fan of baseball named Jim Tanner sat down with a group of close friends and contrived a plan to form an amateur baseball league in Terre Haute, Indiana. What has followed is a 30-year relationship with MSBL, and storied local history, rich in baseball lore.
The ‘THMSBL’ has sent multiple teams to the World Series in Arizona and to countless regional tournaments. They have attained World Series Championship rings across the Father/Son division and also the 60+ and 65+ divisions. The ‘Terre Haute Volkers Group’ teams remain an annual fixture at the World Series. THMSBL has also produced two MSBL Hall of Famers, including Jim Tanner and current league president Darren Brucken.
What started with four teams in 1991 has continued to blossom, bringing highly competitive baseball to the Terre Haute area. The THMSBL is the second largest league in Indiana, second only to Indianapolis. They have played at the same fields for the past 15 years and operate their park independently.
The league features 18+, 35+, and 50+ divisions, comprised mostly of 35-over players. THMSBL has been the home for many college players, past minor league guys, and even a couple of major leaguers in the past 30 years. The league boasted eight teams in 2021 and begins early May and runs into October.
The league founder and patriarch, Jim Tanner, sadly passed away in 2020. He will always be remembered for his boisterous laugh, his love of baseball, and his absolute love of his dear friends and family. He was a pillar in the league from the date of inception until the day of his departure.
Jim passed along the league leadership to Darren Brucken around 2004. Darren has dutifully served the office for over 15 years in total. The league has grown to as many as 14 teams at the peak of its history. Darren is no stranger to the World Series experience and was blessed with his own MSBL Hall of Fame induction in 2013, joining his long-time friend Jim Tanner.
“When I took over, my challenges were recruiting and maintaining our number of teams and of course our budget,” stated Brucken. “The strength of our league is the camaraderie of our players and their love of the game. We all know we are fortunate to still be playing the game we love.”
Family and professional life got really busy for Darren in 2019, thus creating a need for another leader to step up to manage the thriving league. Darrens’ long-time friend and THMSBL member, Dale Mahurin, immediately stepped in and assumed the responsibility. Dale did a masterful job with continuing the organization and directing several projects centered around growth and field improvements. Dale continues to be an integral part of the league, as he and Darren rely heavily on each other to split up the many responsibilities of the office of league president. Together, they have remained committed to keeping competitive men’s baseball alive and well in Terre Haute, Indiana.
“If I could say something to any new presidents out there, it would be to stay committed. There are many challenges but pay attention to every detail. Keep the families engaged and gain their support. There would be no league without them.”