Neal Russo

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Neal Russo creates a sportsword puzzle.

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.[1] He graduated from Farrell High School in 1938,[2] and later from the University of Pittsburgh at the top of his class.[3]

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.[4] He wrote the 479th Fighter Group's newspaper, Kontak, for which future brigadier general and triple ace Robin Olds created cartoons.[5]

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.[1] He succeeded Bob Broeg and preceded Rick Hummel on the St. Louis Cardinals beat from 1959–1978.[1][6] 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.[1][7][8]

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.[9]

He covered St. Louis Flyers hockey, boxing, and youth sports.[7] In addition to his work with the Post-Dispatch, he contributed to Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News.[1]

Russo died of congestive heart failure on March 6, 1996, in St. Louis.[8] He was buried at New Bethlehem Memorial Park Cemetery in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri.[4] He was inducted to the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame posthumously in 2002.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e Wheatley, Tom (March 7, 1996). "NEAL RUSSO, AN INSTITUTION AT POST, DIES". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-04-07.(subscription required)
  2. ^ "Farrell Senior High School - Farrell, Pennsylvania - Class of 1938 Alumni". Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ a b "Neal "The Black Cat" Russo (1920-1996) - Find A..." Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "STL Press Club 2014 Honorees". Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  7. ^ a b Wheatley, Tom (10 March 1996). "THE NATURAL: RUSSO SWUNG FOR FENCES, PLAYED TO GRANDSTAND". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-04-07.(subscription required)
  8. ^ a b Bertelson, Christine (March 7, 1996). "A MAN WHO SPOKE LATIN AND SOLD RUBBER CHICKENS". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-04-07.(subscription required)
  9. ^ Kaplan, Jim (24 July 1978). "Do they really know the score?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  10. ^ "St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame". 2018-04-07.