Inducted into Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, 1986

Jonah Dobrutsky was one of the Jewish community’s outstanding all-around athletes, playing baseball, football, and basketball. Born in Montreal, he moved to Hartford as a baby and in 1940 graduated from Weaver High School, where was acclaimed in all three sports. Several colleges offered him basketball scholarships, but college was not possible for financial reasons. He and his brother Lou worked in their father’s bakery and Lou – his brother’s greatest fan – often worked overtime so that Johnny could sneak off and play basketball.

His abilities earned him professional tryouts with the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball, the Boston Celtics in basketball and the New York Yankees of the American Football League. As a semi-pro he played basketball with the Red Devils of West Haven and the Bristol Tramps, the two outstanding state teams of their day. He honed his skills playing with the Hartford Macabees. Dobrutsky was also captain of the New Britain Americans, the Torrington Howards and the Albany Red Devils. Dobrutsky was a superb ball-handler and pleased crowds by passing the ball behind his back and dribbling between his legs. He played semi-pro football with four different local teams: the Hartford Pros, the Hartford blues, the New Britain Pros and the Torrington Pros.

After moving to Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1957, he coached championship teams, including the YMCA team. He later turned his attention to racquetball and in 1978 won the Massachusetts Golden Masters Racquetball Championship. He was the director of the Boys Alumni Group, a 32nd Degree Mason and a member of the Shriners Club. He owned and operated restaurants in Massachusetts with his wife, the former Ann Elaine Moses, and retired in 1992.