Indiana State University Newsroom

Baseball returns to Terre Haute

December 11, 2009

The Terre Haute Rex baseball team was introduced today as the newest members of The Prospect League.

The team is owned by Sycamore Foundation Holdings, a non-profit subsidiary of the Indiana State University Foundation; and the announcement rejuvenates a passion for the sport in a community that has played host to famous professionals, supported unique franchises and witnessed baseball history.

"Terre Haute has an amazing historical connection to the sport of baseball," said Indiana State University Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Curt Wilkinson. "We are thrilled to be the catalyst for something that will provide quality family entertainment and give Wabash Valley baseball enthusiasts the opportunity to see potential major league players."

The Terre Haute Rex are named after another prominent, historic connection to the community. Rex® Coffee, the "Imperial blend, fit for a Monarch" was roasted and packed in downtown Terre Haute, with a history dating back over a century.

Patented in 1905, Rex® Coffee was a household name from Chicago to Louisville; and from Cincinnati to St. Louis. The coffee roasting business, along with spice milling, and wholesale grocery distribution spawned the Clabber Girl ® Baking Powder business.

Celebrating the rich history, of the Hulman & Company family businesses; Clabber Girl's Rex Roasting Company is roasting premium coffee again in an exhibition style roasting facility in their downtown corporate headquarters museum.

The distinct Rex® Brand Coffee depicts an image of quality and excellence reflected in the monarch crown pictured in the logo.

The partnership between Clabber Girl and the Foundation in naming the team continues a Terre Haute tradition of unique baseball team names that includes the Phillies, Huts, and Tots.

"We are invested in celebrating history and in offering the people in this community these kinds of great opportunities and experiences," said Gary Morris, president and COO of Clabber Girl Corporation. "We are proud to be a part of bringing this historic tradition back to Terre Haute. This premier baseball league just felt like a good fit for our premium Rex® Brand Coffee."

The history of baseball in Terre Haute includes some of the most famous names associated with the game. Countless professional ballplayers have ties to the community including Hall-of-Famer Mordecai Brown, Negro League Baseball All-Star Junius Bibbs, and Art Nehf who holds the National League record for most World Series games pitched (12).

Other highlights include an exhibition game in Terre Haute featuring Babe Ruth; and Branch Rickey began his storied baseball career as a player in 1903.

More recent professional stars include Tommy John and Brian Dorsett, both of whom played for the New York Yankees during their careers; as well as former Indiana State players and current Major League Baseball professionals Clint Barmes of the Colorado Rockies, Mitch Stetter of the Milwaukee Brewers, and Joe Thatcher of the San Diego Padres.

The Prospect League is one of the fastest growing and recognized summer collegiate baseball leagues, and Terre Haute has been a market league officials have been interested in for several years.

"We are extremely pleased to be a part of bringing baseball back to Terre Haute," said Bryan Wickline, president of the Prospect League and general manager of the Chillicothe Paints. "We believe the team has solid ownership, a strong market with a passion for baseball and what will be exceptional facilities. They are a welcome addition."

The Rex will play at Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium, which is the home to the Indiana State University Sycamores baseball team. The facility is currently undergoing an extensive $2.5 million renovation that includes permanent bleachers, new dugouts, infield turf, media box, locker room facilities, concession stand, and restrooms. The facility is scheduled to open spring 2010, in time for the collegiate season. The Rex season will run from June to August.

The team leadership is currently finalizing the hire of a general manager who will run the day-to-day operations of the baseball team as well as a marketing coordinator.

"We plan to announce these two important positions before Christmas," said Gene Crume, president of the Indiana State University Foundation. "It is very important that we have a high quality staff in place to ensure that we recruit an exceptional coach and great players, especially for this inaugural season."

Season ticket sales have already begun and are available by contacting the ISU Foundation offices at 812-240-4323. The team logo, uniform design, and mascot will be announced at a media event in late January.

The Prospect League enters its second season under the Prospect League moniker, but it brings with it plenty of tradition and a long list of former players and coaches. The Prospect League is the former Central Illinois Collegiate League (CICL), one of the most recognized summer baseball leagues in the country.

The Prospect League is one of 10 summer collegiate baseball leagues affiliated with the National Association of Summer Collegiate Baseball (NASCB), of which the CICL was a charter member.

In the winter of 2008 the six teams of the CICL elected to add five expansion teams to form the new 11-team Prospect League. Coming over from the CICL in the Prospect League's inaugural season are the Dubois County Bombers, Danville Dans, Springfield Sliders, Dupage Dragons, Quincy Gems, and Hannibal Cavemen. The Chillicothe Paints, North Coast Knights, Butler BlueSox, Slippery Rock Sliders, and the Richmond RiverRats joined the league for the 2009 season.

The CICL was formed in 1963 as a charter member of National Collegiate Athletic Association certified summer baseball. The league maintained certification for the entire 41 years of oversight by the NCAA, which ended its program February 1, 2005. However, the CICL and all members of the NACSB still follow all general rules and regulations put forth by the NCAA to ensure the amateur status of its student athletes.

Team rosters of the Prospect League and all other NACSB leagues are comprised solely of players who have completed one year of college and who still have college eligibility remaining. As such, many believe that the NACSB summer leagues represent the highest level of pre-professional amateur baseball in America.

Additional Sources:

Media contact: Kim Bloch, communications coordinator, Indiana State University Foundation, 812-237-8875 or