Art Rust Jr., Dead At 82

Posted in Sports Radio at 1:15 am by

Once upon a time, NYC sports yack radio as we currently know it, did not exist.  Long before WHN begat WFAN (and Jim Lampley and Pete Franklin gave way to Mike Francesa and Chris Russo),  Art Rust Jr.’s weeknight “SportsTalk” on WABC was the only game in town.  Rust, aka “Art Rustoleum Jr.” in the words of WFAN’s Steve Somers, ghostwrote the first of two Darryl Strawberry autobiographies, as well as authoring  the 1976 tome “Get That Nigger Off The Field”.  Rust passed away yesterday after a battle with Parkinson’s, and is recalled by the New York Times’ Richard Goldstein :

Mr. Rust was not the first New York radio sports host who bantered with listeners over the phone; Bill Mazer had an earlier popular program. But Mr. Rust œcertainly set the groundwork and the foundation for a WFAN, Steve Somers, a host for that station, told the MSG Web site.

Steve Malzberg, Mr. Rust™s producer, said œthere was a warmth to Mr. Rust™s broadcasts.

œIt was feeling like you knew Arthur George Rust Jr. and he was in your home, he said.

Mr. Rust reveled in his love of sports history. He was also known for his œRustisms. A left-hander was a œportsider and home plate was the œdish.

He called Yankee Stadium œthe big ball orchard in the South Bronx.

As he put it in 1976: œI lived to see blacks elected to the Hall of Fame. I lived to see Emmett Ashford, the first black umpire. I lived to see Aaron break Babe Ruth™s home-run record. I lived to see Frank Robinson become the first black manager in the major leagues. The system is breaking.

œHowever, he added, œan interesting development: My 10-year-old daughter, Suzanne, wants to know why women can™t play major league baseball.

17 responses to “Art Rust Jr., Dead At 82”

  1. M. N. Ferrara says:

    I listened faithfully to Mr. Rust when he had his sports talk radio show on WABC radio. I also called in to the show occassionally to discuss boxing and the New York Yankees. He felt like a member of my family, and I was deeply saddened by the death of his first wife, Edna. I am equally saddened by his passing last night. He will be missed!

  2. Bob Burns says:

    Arthur George Rust, Jr. was a nightly friend of my commuting life for a number of years. The scope and detail of his memory knocked my socks off and he entertained me unfailingly. He was so prideful, so insistent, so bright. He remains a positive and pleasant part of my own soul. In his family’s time of grief, I’m sure they can reflect on the gift Art’s existence was to them and so many others. My thoughts are with them.

  3. Paul O'Pinion says:

    Art was the first and the most pleasant to listen to. “Art Rust Jr., you’re on the air” was a great sound. Always a pleasure to listen to such a wonderful baseball historian. He was a gentleman with many terrific stories to share with his following.
    He is missed.

  4. My first call to a sports show was when Art had on Cus D’ Amato in the pre-Tyson days. Had to love him. Whether it was about the “Babe is Black”, “they killed Jackie Robinson”, and “there is only one “Sugar Ray”, named Robinson!” he always had a point…love him or hate him.

    I wonder how many people he left owing $20 to.

    Goodnight, Edna Baby!

  5. Ron Carmark says:

    The best sports talk show host that I ever heard bar none! What a prodigious memory. You always knew that you were listening to a truly intelligent and decent man. Listening to him was uplifting as well as being fun.

  6. Douglas Martaian says:

    Art Rust Jr. was the Man! From about 1981-1888 he ruled on 77 WABC radio. Nobody knew more baseball or boxing history than him. His incredible stories and unique perspective made his show mandatory listening for any sports fan-much like Mike and the Mad Dog’s show. However, Art (although he had strong opinions), wasn’t as arrogant and didn’t treat callers like dirt the way Francesa often does. For years I’ve wondered why he didn’t have a show on WFAN. There definitely should have been a place for him on that station. I really miss his show.
    May he rest in peace.

  7. George Ganzekaufer says:

    We’ve lost one of the “Greats”. I have had the privilege of knowing Art and have been a quest on his show a couple of times. This man was one of the warmest, nicest and most sincere persons I’ve ever met.

    Does anyone know where I can find the poem Art ended his show with? It began with…”To each is given a book of rules. I carried it
    in my wallet for years and tried to live my life around it.

  8. Hman says:

    What a loss! AGR,JR. noted boxing historian and had the best monikers for his callers especially that racist nut case in Westchester, NY known by “yours truly” as “Eli,the squire from Westchester” who always had a black perspective on life . Art treated him with respect but did correct Eli on various occasions when the “squire” injected his racial venom into most of his comments. Arthur George was a voice for all reasons and seasonds and will be sorely missed. One thing that did grate on me was Art’s great dislike for Howard Cosell (shared by many) which he made public over and over again. Artie,give it a rest! RIP my friend..RIP..

  9. LeeManhattan says:

    He was a bit pompous,but good at it.His racist back-stabbing producer SteveMalzberg is worse than pompous and good for nothing,except phony trade rumors like BillBuckner for WillieRandolph,villifying TomSeaver and oh, the Yankees signed JackMorris! Anybody who hears MalzBag knows he’s a lying vengeful scoundrel who climbed over Art’s back to become what his hidden agenda always was: a wanabe BobGrant,his real mentor!

  10. Stef Marquez says:

    A Bag of Tools

    Isn’t it strange/ that princes and kings,/ and clowns in sawdust rings,/ and common people/ like you and me/ are builders for eternity?
    Each is given a bag of tools,/ a shapeless mass;/ a book of rules,/ and each must make-/ ere life is flown-/ a stumbling block/ or a stepping stone.

  11. b carlton says:

    steve malzberg is a right wing douche-bag

  12. Murph says:

    I listen to Art Rust jr for years and I thought he was the best radio host in NY sports . I wondered why WFAN didn’t keep him on the air. “Mike & the mad dog” couldn’t shine his shoes. Then one day I found out why, & I very was disappointed. Good night Art baby, RIP

  13. WEBSTER UZZLE says:


  14. andrew says:

    Yesterday is a canceled check , Tomorrow is a promissory note , Today is the only time we have so spend it wisely , G”night Edna Baby.

  15. Skip Carpentier says:

    Sad to read. Most knowledible sports historian ever. I called in once and spoke to. Bobby Murcer, another faveroite of mine. Listened faithfully. The very best. RIP Art

  16. Bradley Tupe says:

    Miss you Art Rust Jr. You’ll always be my favorite sports host rip

  17. Dan Lyons says:

    I was speaking about great talk show hosts not to long ago to my daughter. I told her about the great Arthur George and the night he did an interview with the great boxing trainer Ray Arcel, about the great boxing legends and how he ranked them. It was one of the most indepth interviews I ever heard. I believe he said Sugar Ray Robinson was the best fighter pound for pound. Joe Louis beats Muhammad Ali. awesome!

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