Bob Russ, Sr.

Bob Russ, Sr. started his softball career on the North side of Chicago at Hermosa, Mozart, and Blackhawk Parks with the Trolls and DE Rogues. He attended Lane Tech for two years and then transferred to Kelvyn Park. He was elected captain of the Kelvyn Park baseball team for the final two years and was selected to Chicago’s All-City Baseball Team. He also played basketball and football at Kelvyn Park. Bob was drafted in the Army where he spent two years with the 4th Infantry Division. He returned form Vietnam with the rank of SPEC 5.  He started playing serious softball when he joined the Olympics, a team playing at Kosciusko and Clarendon parks. He was then asked to play with the Lyons 54s, a powerhouse team in those days, featuring such great players as John Straley, Jim Fuller, Louie Zielinski, and Greg Burzynski, all Hall of Fame inductees. He also played with the Gaffers at Kosciusko.  Bob was considered one of the toughest outs in softball. He did what all good hitters do – he got on base. He hit hard, spinning line drives at the feet of infielders, making them difficult to pick-up. He hit the gaps hard and when the outfielders came in to catch the dump hit, the ball would jump off to the side, allowing him to take an extra base with his good speed. He was a tough singles and doubles hitter with a lifetime batting average over .600.  In the 1970s, he joined the Rogues. They played at Clarendon and Kelly parks in Chicago and James Park in Evanston. Many softball experts think the Evanston League was one of the toughest ever with the Bobcats, Sobies, Dwarfs, Murder’s Row, Rogues and others competing. They beat the Bobcats for the championship on a triple-play in the last inning when Lou Zielinsky made a great play in short center, flipped the ball to Bobby Russ who then threw to Vito Maggerise (HOF) to complete the triple play. The crowd of one thousand spectators went crazy.  The Rogues won championships throughout the city, including the Andy Frain Tournament and won multiple titles at Amundsen and Kosciusko parks. The Rogues featured Hall of Fame inductees, Vito Maggerise, Bill Massuci, Mike Mareno, Bob Garippo, Lou Zielinki, and Mike Tallo. Bob was MVP two times in the ’70s with the Rogues before moving to Otto’s in the ’80s.  Bob played second base and catcher for Otto’s. He was surrounded with great players on the team, again all Hall of Fame inductees: Mike Tallo, Rich Urbanski, Bill Massuci, Jim Krause, Paul Brezinski, and Tim Decker.  In the ’80s Bob also played with the Pirates of Broadview and also with the Stooges, led by Pat Caputo (HOF) and Michael and Jimmy Spidale of the Stooges. He finished his playing days with the Bally team and a work team in the suburbs.  Bob went on to manage and coach some great teams in the ’90s through the new millennium, including Primetime, Lettuce, Licorice, Sage, Maxim, Flash, and Jinx, five-time national champions. Bob lives in Carol Stream with his wife, Terry. He has three sons, Bobby Jr., Randy, and Mark and two stepsons, Brian and Keith. They have eight grandchildren and a chocolate lab named Toby.