Aniello "Neal" Russo (June 12, 1920 – March 6, 1996) was an American sportswriter.
Russo was one of 14 children born to Italian immigrants and grocers Thomasina and Pietro Russo in Farrell, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Farrell High School in 1938, and later from the University of Pittsburgh at the top of his class.
During World War II, he served in the 434th Fighter Squadron in Army Air Corps, primarily at RAF Wattisham, with the final rank of Technical Sergeant. He wrote the 479th Fighter Group's newspaper, Kontak, for which future brigadier general and triple ace Robin Olds created cartoons.
After the war, Russo moved to St. Louis, Missouri and began a 43-year career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was on the St. Louis Browns beat for their final two seasons in St. Louis in 1952–1953. He succeeded Bob Broeg and preceded Rick Hummel on the St. Louis Cardinals beat from 1959–1978. His unconventional work practices and antics around the offices of the Post-Dispatch, Busch Stadium, and beyond, included weight-loss challenges and stand-up comedy routines.
Russo moonlit as an official scorer and as a crossword puzzle writer. On April 6, 1978, he made a controversial call that resulted in Bob Forsch's first no-hitter. The call was much discussed in baseball circles, including in Sports Illustrated.
Russo died of congestive heart failure on March 6, 1996, in St. Louis. He was buried at New Bethlehem Memorial Park Cemetery in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri. He was inducted to the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame posthumously in 2002.
- Wheatley, Tom (March 7, 1996). "NEAL RUSSO, AN INSTITUTION AT POST, DIES". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-04-07.(subscription required)
- "Farrell Senior High School - Farrell, Pennsylvania - Class of 1938 Alumni". pedasfamily.com. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
- Compiled, F.R. (March 22, 2002). "WORRELL TO BE GUEST SPEAKER AT THE HALL OF FAME DINNER". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-04-07.(subscription required)
- "Neal "The Black Cat" Russo (1920-1996) - Find A..." www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
- Fairfield, Terry A. (2004). The 479th Fighter Group in World War II : in action over Europe with the P-38 and P-51. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History. ISBN 9780764320569. OCLC 58653175.
- "STL Press Club 2014 Honorees". stlpressclub.org. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
- Wheatley, Tom (10 March 1996). "THE NATURAL: RUSSO SWUNG FOR FENCES, PLAYED TO GRANDSTAND". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-04-07.(subscription required)
- Bertelson, Christine (March 7, 1996). "A MAN WHO SPOKE LATIN AND SOLD RUBBER CHICKENS". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-04-07.(subscription required)
- Kaplan, Jim (24 July 1978). "Do they really know the score?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
- "St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame". 2018-04-07.