Bobby Russ Jr. started his sixteen-inch softball career in the late 1980s with two Northwest Side neighborhood teams – the Levee and the Jackmen. Both teams had a number of HOF players on their roster. He played baseball and basketball at Weber High School from 1981 to 1985. He received a scholarship to play baseball at Lewis University, a Division II powerhouse in Romeoville, Illinois. As a four-year starting pitcher for the Flyers, he helped them win two conference championships. They appeared in the 1988 and 1989 Division II World Series where they finished third and fifth, respectively. He was voted 2nd Team All-American his senior year.
Once his college baseball days were over in 1989, he started playing softball with Lightning Softball and the Stooges. In 1992 Bobby was a member of the ICE team that won a loaded “A” Nationals in Indianapolis. In 1993 he was recruited to play first base for Lettuce Entertain You, the best team in softball at that time. For the next twenty-plus years, Bobby started for Licorice, Laborers, Maxim, and Flashback, all sixteen-inch powerhouses.
Bobby has won nine ASA and SSA Major championships and eight Forest Park No Glove Nationals. He has been selected an All American ten times. He was named the MVP of the Forest Park No Glove Nationals twice and was named the Suburban Life Tournament MVP once.
Bobby has been coached by some of the best in the game, including Rich Melman, Joel Zimberoff, Pat Caputo, Jimmy Spidale, Warren Johnson, Tom “Eggs” Czarnik, Willie Simpson, Ronnie Matriciano, Ron Schabinger, Lenny Nuzzo, Danny Cocco, George Vournazos, Rich “Wags” Wagner, Jeff “Jibbz” Hernandez, Anthony Tyler and his Hall of Fame father, Bobby Russ Sr. His father’s favorite saying was “it’s not about the name on the back of the shirt; it’s about the name on the front of the shirt.”
Bobby and his wife, Karen, have four children – Ryan, Brendan, William, and Lucy. He enjoys coaching his sons in basketball and baseball and coaching Lucy in basketball. He still plays sixteen-inch softball at the age of fifty.