Baseball Bloodlines: The Repass Brothers

One of the most influential families in Hartford’s storied baseball history went by the name of Repass. A trio of brothers: Charlie, Spike and Jack Repass significantly impacted the local baseball scene. 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 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 1931, Charlie 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, a few weeks later, Charlie Repass was hospitalized with a form of cancer and passed away on December 12, 1933.

Home Circle baseball club of the Hartford Twilight League, 1930.
Charlie Repass, Bulkeley High School, Hartford, Connecticut, 1929.
Charlie Repass, 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. Bob 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.

Bob Repass, St. Louis Cardinals, 1939.

Bob 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 counterparts, 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.

Bob Repass, Columbus Red Birds, 1940.
Bob Repass, Columbus Red Birds, 1940.
Hartford Courant excerpt, 1941.
Hartford Courant excerpt, 1941.
Bob Repass, Baltimore Orioles, 1942.
Bob Repass, Washington Senators, 1942.
Bob Repass, Washington Senators, 1942.
Bob Repass, Washington Senators, 1942.
Bob Repass, Washington Senators, 1942.
Bob Repass, Baltimore Orioles, 1943.
Bob Repass, Baltimore Orioles, 1943.

Towards the end of his career, Bob played 43 games for the 1947 Hartford Chiefs. He retired from professional baseball following another season with the Baltimore 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, Bob Repass made his home in Wethersfield, Connecticut. He was known as a humble friend and a patriotic American.

Bob Repass at a dinner fundraiser, 1961.

In 1963, he became the resident golf professional at Edgewood Golf Club (now TPC River Highlands) in Cromwell, Connecticut. Bob Repass played his last ballgame in 1968, appearing in a GHTBL Old Timer’s game. For many years, he 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.
GHTBL Old Timers’ Game, 1968.
Bob “Spike” Repass (center), 1974.
Hartford Courant excerpt, 1975.
Bob Repass, 1999.

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. Jack 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.

1947 St. Cyril’s

He 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. Jack 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, Jack organized another team in the Hartford Twilight League as player-manager of a team sponsored by Yellow Cab. He enrolled at Hillyer College and helped form a baseball team at the school before its 1958 merger into the University of Hartford.

Hartford Twilight League awards banquet, 1955.

During University of Hartford’s inaugural season, Jack, a 34-year-old junior, batted for a .463 average and led the NCAA College Division in stolen bases. In addition to his baseball talents, Jack was a skilled writer, researcher, pianist, and singer. His skills propelled him to earn a living at the Manchester Herald as a reporter. He later went on to revolutionize the Sports Information Director position at the University of Hartford for over 14 years.

Jack Repass (right), University of Hartford, 1958.
Hartford Courant excerpt, 1959.

As his playing days came to close, Jack Repass became the statistician and Secretary of the Hartford Twilight League. In 1979, he created a 32-page booklet documenting the history of the league and commemorated its 50th anniversary. The following year, Jack founded the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League Hall of Fame. The organization gave local players, managers, umpires, sponsors, and sportswriters recognition for their contributions to the league.

Jack Repass and Art McGinley, 1968.

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. Jack, 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.

Jack Repass, 1971.
Hartford Courant excerpt, 1971.
University of Hartford honors Jack Repass (2nd from left), 1972.
Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League 50th Anniversary booklet, 1979.
Hartford Courant excerpt, 1989.
Jack Repass, 1991.
Hartford Courant excerpt, 2001.

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