Baseball Bloodlines: The Repass Brothers

One of the most talented and influential families in Hartford’s storied baseball history went by the name of Repass. A trio of brothers: Charlie, Spike and Jack were focal points of the Hartford baseball scene throughout the 20th century. Raised in the South End of Hartford by Lena and Charles Repass Sr. each Repass brother graduated from Bulkeley High School and starred on the Maroons baseball team. In the summer months, the Repass brothers competed in the Hartford Twilight League.

Charles “Charlie” Repass Jr. (1914 - 1933) was the eldest and the tallest of the Repass brothers. As a right-handed pitcher and outfielder, Charlie Repass had the best throwing arm in his family. During the summers of his teenage years, he played for the Hartford Cardinals, an American Legion team. In 1933, Repass pitched and occupied the outfield for the Home Circle nine of the Hartford Twilight League. That year, he led Home Circle to a second place finish for the league title in a final match up at Bulkeley Stadium. Sadly, only a few weeks later, Charlie Repass was hospitalized with a form of cancer and passed away on December 12, 1933.

Bob Spike Repass (1917 - 2006) was three years younger than his brother Charlie, and became one of the best middle infielders to ever hail from Hartford. Repass graduated from Bulkeley High School in 1935 where he was a standout second basemen and three-sport star athlete. He then played for the Tuckel Rhymers team in the Hartford Twilight League during the summer. As a top local prospect, he signed to play for the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1937.  Repass was called up to the Major Leagues for 3 appearances with the Cardinals in 1939. He later guarded second base, third base and shortstop for 81 games as a member of the 1942 Washington Senators.

Like many of his baseball counterparts, Bob Repass was drafted into military service during World War II as part of the U.S. Army in Europe. He returned to professional baseball in 1946 when he re-signed with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League and mashed 19 home runs on the season. Towards the end of his career, Repass played 43 games for the 1947 Hartford Chiefs and retired from professional baseball after another season with the Orioles in 1949. Thereafter, he made appearances for the Hartford Indians, a semi-professional squad who took on Negro League and professional opponents at Bulkeley Stadium.

In the latter half of his life, Repass made his home in Wethersfield, Connecticut, and was known to be a humble friend and a patriotic American. In 1963, Repass became the resident golf professional at Edgewood Golf Club (now TPC River Highlands) in Cromwell, Connecticut. He played his last ballgame in 1968, appearing in a GHTBL Old Timer’s game. For many years, Repass worked as a steamfitter with the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 777 Bob “Spike” Repass lived a long life, was married to his wife, Genevieve, for 64 years, and died at 89 years old on January 17, 2006.

GHTBL Old Timers’ Game, 1968.

John Jack Repass (1924 - 2001) was the youngest brother of the Repass family who helped sustain amateur baseball in the Greater Hartford area. His baseball legacy began with a successful athletic career at Bulkeley High School. Repass was a speedy infielder and solid contact hitter. In the summer of 1946, he joined the Hartford Twilight League as member of the St. Cyril’s baseball club. Repass then played shortstop for the Shamrock A.C. team in 1949. That same year, he organized and managed the Paragon Indians who won the Courant-Junior Chamber of Commerce League, later named the Jaycee-Courant Amateur Baseball League. Repass entered the Paragon Indians into the East Hartford Twilight League the following year; his first season as a player-manager.

Jack Repass stepped away from baseball in 1951 to serve in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. When he came home two years later, Repass organized another team in the Hartford Twilight League as player-manager of a team sponsored by Yellow Cab. Repass then enrolled at Hillyer College and helped to form a baseball team at the school before its 1958 merger into the University of Hartford. During University of Hartford’s inaugural season, Repass, a 34-year-old junior, hit for a .463 average and led the NCAA College Division in stolen bases. In addition to his baseball talents, Repass was a skilled writer, researcher, pianist, and singer. His skills propelled him to earn a living at the Manchester Herald as a reporter. Repass later went on to revolutionize the Sports Information Director position at the University of Hartford over a 14 years.

Hartford Twilight League awards banquet, 1955.

As his playing days came to close, Jack Repass became the statistician and publicist of the Hartford Twilight League. In 1979, Repass created a 32-page booklet documenting the history of the league that commemorated the league’s 50th anniversary. The following year, Repass founded the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League Hall of Fame giving local players, managers, umpires, sponsors, and sportswriters well-deserved recognition for their contributions to the league. In 1991, he was named to the University of Hartford Alumni Athletics Hall of Fame and the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance presented Repass with its Good Sport Award; given to top volunteers in support of community sports. Repass, a long-time resident of East Hartford, Connecticut, passed away on November 10, 2001, at 77 years of age. A debt of gratitude is owed to Jack Repass and the entire Repass family for their remarkable contributions to the game of baseball in Greater Hartford.