Local News

Chris Bass maintains strong family ties to former hometown

Chris Bass teed off at the recent Shelbyville High School Basketball/Football Golf Benefit with a swing reminiscent of the powerful baseball stroke that made him a tremendous player and eventual professional athlete.

“My dad and I really enjoy playing in this golf outing every year,” said Bass. “He will always be a proud Golden Bear and I still have family members in Shelbyville. It is always great to see so many people again who we have known for so long.”

Bass, now 40, is a Shelbyville native who became one of Madison High School’s most prolific athletes and a professional baseball player for six seasons.

Chris Bass was born in Shelbyville in 1982 to parents Todd and Julie (Tackett) Bass. Chris’s father was an excellent two-sport SHS athlete who played wide receiver for the football team and was an outfielder for Tom Hession’s baseball teams in 1980 and 1981.

Chris developed an early love for sports and began his athletic career in a manner typical of Shelby County youth.

“Chris started out just like I did,” said Todd Bass. “He played on the Boys Club baseball diamond on Miller Street and in winter basketball leagues just as previous generations of Shelbyville kids did.”

Todd, a member of the Air Force at the time, accepted a job at Madison’s Jefferson Proving Ground and moved the family to Madison in 1989. Chris quickly fit in with local youth sports programs.

“We found that he was advanced for his age group, particularly in baseball, so he played with the older age groups,” said Todd. “He also always had good size and strength.”

Chris flourished as a Madison High School athlete earning 12 varsity letters. He and teammate Bryan Bullington, who would become a major league pitcher for six seasons, led Madison to the 1999 Indiana Class 3A state high school baseball title with a decisive win over Carroll.  

Bass was a shortstop and pitcher whose teams won three baseball regionals.

“We had some real battles with Jasper (a perennial baseball power) during those years,” stated Chris. “It was very satisfying to get that championship my junior year.”

Bass batted .641 as a senior and reached base 101 times in 81 official at-bats. He played four seasons at quarterback for Madison football and also excelled as an all-conference performer on the basketball court.

This record of three-sport achievement drew attention from a number of colleges including Notre Dame, Miami of Ohio and Indiana University, among others.

Purdue proffered the most interesting proposal.

“Purdue wanted me to play baseball and football,” said Chris.

He was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth round of the 2000 draft. “I was interested in primarily pursuing baseball so I elected to postpone college and sign with the Pirates at that time,” said Bass.

He hit .295 in the Gulf Coast Rookie league in 2000 playing third base and seeing some time at second base. He posted his best statistics in 2003 while playing for Hickory, North Carolina, in the South Atlantic League, hitting 16 home runs and driving in 79 runs.

“That was my most satisfying year,” said Chris. “We had a very successful season and I enjoyed playing with great teammates. I stay in touch with many of those guys.”

Bass would make the Florida State League All-Star team in 2004 while playing for Jupiter and hitting .273 with 37 runs batted in. He rounded out his career in 2005 hitting .252 with 36 runs batted in for the Carolina team of the Southern League.

The Madison graduate posted very respectable career statistics for his six-year minor league career which included a .264 batting average, 253 runs batted in, 33 home runs and a .919 fielding percentage.

Bass made the decision to end his professional baseball career after the 2005 season.

“At a certain point you have to make a decision as to how long you want to pursue playing,” he said. “More people are competing for spots each year and you have to finally determine when to move on.”  



Chris (photo) returned to Indiana and completed his studies at Indiana University, earning a degree in business. He is married to Amy (Bomholt), a Madison schoolmate and daughter of long-time Indiana high school boys basketball coach Jerry Bomholt.

The couple has a son, Brennan, and live in Bargersville. Chris currently works in sales for Harbison-Walker Refractories.

Todd and Julie Bass have been married for 40 years and still reside in Madison. Todd continues employment with the Air Force, frequently traveling with his work on air-to-ground bomber ranges.  

Chris Bass moved from Shelbyville more than 33 years ago and has lived a life filled with remarkable accomplishments since that time. Yet, he still feels a sense of association with his old hometown.

“My parents are very connected to Shelbyville,” said Chris. “They have a strong bond to their Shelbyville friends and family as well as the places there that were so important to them growing up. I see that when we come back to Shelbyville for events and visits.”

“I have communicated my Shelbyville experiences and values to Chris,” said Todd. “Throughout his life I have talked to him about the places and people of my youth that meant a great deal to me. Often, it was my voice but old coaches and mentors like Bruce Knecht and Tom Hession were sending him the messages, just like they sent them to me. Chris Bass has a lot of Shelbyville in him.”