February 10th is the anniversary of the death of Rip Repulski, a Minnesota boy who came out of Sauk Rapids in the early 50s to play for the Cardinals for several years, and then the Phillies, Dodgers, and Red Sox.
Rip was a fine defensive outfielder, played center for the Cards, and had a little pop in his bat. He came in 3rd for NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1953, behind Jim Gilliam (winner) and Harvey Haddix. Rip’s best seasons were ’54 and ’55; he hit .283 with 19 home runs and 79 rbi in ’54, and in ’55, .270/23/73. Overall he had nine years in the majors, a .269 lifetime average, with 106 home runs. And one of the better baseball names out there.
Rip’s real name was Eldon John Repulski. Which was nearly a funny coincidence. After baseball Rip opened a bar in St. Cloud Minnesota, and then worked for the railroads in the shops. His health failed him in his early 50s, and he passed away at age 64 in Sauk Rapids. There’s a nice biography of Rip on the SABR website, written by George Rekela.
Good game, Ripper.