Tag: people’s united bank

Hartford Twilight Manager Spotlight: Tom Abbruzzese

Since 1976, Tom Abbruzzese has managed the same Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League franchise. Abbruzzese initially managed Society for Savings Bank with his father, Mike Abbruzzese. They fielded strong teams rostered by the likes of Mark Riemer, David Gale and Kevin Gieras. Society for Savings eventually became Bank of Boston and then People’s Bank in the summer of 2000. The franchise has amassed fifteen Regular Season and Playoff Championships. The “Bankers” have recruited and advanced numerous professional players to and from the GHTBL year after year. With Abbruzzese at the helm, People’s remains a perennial contender.

Hartford Courant excerpt, June 21, 1981.
2009 People’s Bank

Born on August 11, 1943, in Hartford, Connecticut. Abbruzzese is the longest serving GHTBL manager in history. He is a graduate of Wethersfield High School and Fairfield University (1965). Then he worked for the Hartford Parks Department for a brief period. In 1971, Abbruzzese organized and coached a team in the Junior and Senior Division of the Jaycee Courant League who played home games at Hartford’s Colt Park. His team was sponsored by team sponsored by Society for Savings, a regional bank with staying power in Hartford. Abbruzzese then entered Society for Savings into the GHTBL during the summer of 1976.

Tom Abbruzzese holds mound meeting, 2019.
Manager Tom Abbruzzese at Dunkin Donuts Park, Hartford, Connecticut, 2019.

Abbruzzese earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of Connecticut (1996). His current profession is as Director of Adult Education, in Newington, Connecticut.  Previously he was a Vice Principal of Ledyard High School Ledyard High School (1974-1995) and before that, Recreation Leader for the City of Hartford (1963-1976), According to Abbruzzese, he’s, “thankful not only for the outstanding players I have had the privilege of coaching and continue to have, but most importantly for their exceptional character as well. These two qualities are the ingredients for success.” Abbruzzese resides in Wethersfield, Connecticut.

Manager Tom Abbruzzese, People’s United Bank, 2020
Tom Abbruzzese (right) accepts GTHBL service award, 2020.
Manager Tom Abbruzzese at Dunkin Donuts Park, Hartford, Connecticut, 2021.

August 2 – Crush Cancer Night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park

On Monday, August 2, 2021, the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League will host a doubleheader at at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford. The event, presented by Cigna, will be the league’s 5th annual charity series. This year, ticket proceeds will be donated to Connecticut Cancer Foundation and the Brian Peer Memorial Scholarship.

  • 6:00 PM, People’s United Bank vs. Bristol Greeners
  • 8:00 PM, East Hartford Jets vs. Hartford Colts

Tickets will be available at the Main Gate for $10 per adult and free for kids 14 and under.

RSVP on Facebook at https://fb.me/e/2rXIzjCCg.

Can’t attend? Donate here: givebutter.com/embed/c/ghtbl.


About Connecticut Cancer Foundation

Connecticut Cancer Foundation was founded in 1987 by Connecticut native John C. Ellis, a former catcher for the New York Yankees, who played Major League Baseball for 13 years. John lost his sister, brother and sister-in-law to lymphoma. He is a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma that was diagnosed before John reached 40.  Fortunately, John survived and CCF was born with the idea of raising funds through sports with the help of sports celebrities. CCF has flourished under the guidance of John’s wife, Jane G. Ellis, President and Executive Director of CCF.

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John and Jane Ellis, Founders of Connecticut Cancer Foundation.

Through the CT Cancer Patient Assistance Program, CCF helps Connecticut families requesting assistance through referrals from oncology social workers from hospitals, cancer treatment centers and hospices throughout the state. For the past 34 years, CCF has quietly granted over $6.4 million to more than 7,000 Connecticut families dealing with the financial hardship that often follows a cancer diagnosis. In addition, the Foundation has donated over $2.4 million to support ongoing cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.


About the Brian Peer Memorial Scholarship

This college scholarship is in memory of Brian Peer of Windsor, Connecticut. He was a Windsor High School varsity baseball player from 1996 until 1998, earning All-Conference honors as a senior. He also played American Legion Baseball in Windsor earning All-Zone Honors in 1998. He continued on to Manchester Community College earning All-New England Junior College All Star recognition then on to Rhode Island College, being named Co-Captain his Senior Year. He continued to play in area adult leagues through 2018. The scholarship is awarded each year to a Windsor High School baseball player who will be attending college.

Brian Peer played in the GHTBL from 2004 to 2018 and is remembered as a good teammate and team leader.

GHTBL Gives Back to the Greater Hartford Community

On Sunday, July, 9, 2017 the GHTBL hosted the first ever charity series at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Four games were played and $5,641 in ticket proceeds were donated to Hartford’s Camp Courant. On June 21 and 22 of 2018 the league hosted a pair of doubleheaders that raised $4,500 for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. In 2019, the Twilight League held another day at Dunkin’ Donuts Park and raised $7,000 for a Multiple Sclerosis charity named MS4MS. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the league managed to play a shortened season in 2020, including a doubleheader at Dunkin’ Donuts Park that raised $2,000 for the new Johnny Taylor Field in Hartford’s Colt Park.

Camp Courant Kids Day at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, 2017

Neifi Mercedes Signs Professional Contract

Recently, Neifi Mercedes signed a professional contract to play for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers of the United Shore Professional Baseball League. Mercedes, 22, hails from New Britain and and he attended Monroe College in the Bronx. In 2018 and 2020, he was the former shortstop of Tom Abbruzzese’s People’s United Bank franchise. Mercedes joins a long list of GHTBL players who have been picked up by an independent league. Also of note: Neifi’s 27 year old brother, Yermin Mercedes is currently having a breakout season as catcher of the Chicago White Sox.

Visit the United Shore Professional Baseball League here at https://uspbl.com.

3 Clubs Aim for Playoff Championship

People’s, Vernon and East Hartford to play final games of 2020.

GHTBL’s 2020 Playoff Tournament is nearly finished and our mid-August  classic is down to 3 clubs; People’s United Bank, Vernon Orioles and the East Hartford Jets. 

G11 – TUESDAY, 8/18, MCKENNA FIELD – 7 PM

G12 – WEDNESDAY, 8/19, MCKENNA FIELD – 7 PM

G13 – THURSDAY, 8/20, MCKENNA FIELD – 7 PM (IF NECESSARY)

On Tuesday, People’s will face Vernon at East Hartford’s McKenna Field. Superior batting and 2 homers from Infielder, Willy Yahn along with gritty pitching performances from Aidan Dunn have led Manager Tom Abbruzzese’s bankers franchise in the Tournament thus far. As for Manager Jack Ceppetelli and the Vernon Orioles, veterans like Third Baseman, Dan Trubia and First Baseman, Jack  Halpin along with new additions such as Infielder, Jimmy Titus and Pitcher, Matt Cleveland will look to win their way into the championship game.

Jimmy Titus (left), Third Baseman, Vernon Orioles and Neifi Mercedes, Shortstop, People’s United Bank.

On Wednesday, the East Hartford Jets will take on the winner of Game #12. Manager Taylor Kosakowski has guided the Jets to 3-straight playoff victories. Bryan Albee has been the team’s ace on the mound. Designated Hitter Jimmy Schult, Shortstop, Jeff Criscuolo and Outfielder, Mike Santiago are currently having success at the plate. However, if the Jets are defeated on Wednesday, then Playoff Game #13 will be played on Thursday.

At each game, the league will request a $5 donation at the main gate. Admission is free for kids 14 & under.

We look forward to seeing you at McKenna Field this week!

2019 Annual Awards – Complete List

People’s United Bank Rakes in the Accolades

Here are the 2019 GHTBL Award Winners:

Frank McCoy Award – Most Valuable Player – Jason Sullivan, 3B, Record-Journal Expos

Ray McKenna Award – Player of the Year – Ian Halpin, INF, Vernon Orioles

Mike Liappes Award – Most Valuable Pitcher – Charlie Hesseltine, P, Record-Journal Expos

Rev. Thomas Campion Award – Outstanding Playoff Hitter – Daren Grabowski, OF, People’s United Bank

Mike Abbruzzese Award – Outstanding Playoff Pitcher – Jimmy Schult, P/OF, East Hartford Jets

Hal Lewis Award – Most Versatile Player – A.J. Hendrickson, P/C, Record-Journal Expos

Jack Repass Award – Gold Glove – Jack Risley, SS, People’s United Bank

James Gallagher Award – Rookie of the Year – Pete Barrows, Ulbrich Steel and Mac Finnegan, OF, People’s United Bank

Gene Johnson Award – Regular Season Batting Title – Daren Grabowski, OF, People’s United Bank

Ralph Giansanti Sr. Award – Stolen Base Leader – Hector Gonzalez, SS, Record-Journal Expos

Mark and Jane Foss Award – RBI Leader – Mac Finnegan, OF, People’s United Bank

Jack Rose Trophy – Playoff Champion – Vernon Orioles, Jack Ceppetelli, Manager

Jake Banks Trophy – Regular Season Champion – Record-Journal Expos, Charlie Hesseltine, Manager

Vernon Orioles Win 5th Consecutive Championship

Manager Jack Ceppetelli’s franchise is a cut above the rest.

The 2019 GHTBL Playoff Tournament finale featured Tom Abbruzzese’s People’s United Bank club versus the Vernon Orioles at Palmer Field in Middletown, Connecticut.  Abbruzzese as well as Orioles third baseman Dan Trubia were honored before the game by GHTBL President Bill Holowaty with a plaque of appreciation for their service to the Twilight League.  Afterwards, a near no-hitter thrown by lefty pitcher Paul Dougan led the O’s to a 10-1 victory. Celebrations in the parking lot ensued. 

Many Orioles players are veterans of the league, and experience has worked Vernon’s favor in recent years. The franchise has always been a mix of veterans who mentor and motivate younger players to improve. Veteran players like Matt Purnell, Dan and Tony Trubia, Tyler Pogmore, Peter Kelley and Jordan English made significant contributions this season.

As important were efforts made by more junior players. Brothers Ian and Jack Halpin, Zach Donahue and Alex Hoss stepped up in key spots throughout the season. Ian Halpin took home this year’s Ray McKenna Award (Player of the Year) and posted a .424 batting average, hit 4 home runs (2 in the playoffs), drove in 19 RBI and finished with a 1.112 OPS in the regular season.

This marks 5 years in row that Manager Jack Ceppetelli and the Vernon Orioles have captured the GHTBL Playoff Championships. The 2019 Season Title winner of the GHTBL was the Record-Journal Expos led by their manager and man on the mound, Charlie Hesseltine. Congratulations to all championship and award-winning players and managers.

Thank you sponsors and fans who supported the GHTBL this year – our 91st year in action.