Art Rust Jr.: 1927-2010

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: January 14, 2010

NEW YORK — Pioneering African-American sportscaster and author Art Rust Jr. has died in New York City at age 82.

His daughter, Suzanne Rust, said he died Tuesday in New York after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Rust got his start at New York radio station WWRL and worked at NBC from 1967-73.

In the 1980s, he hosted a popular sports talk radio show on WABC. His show, ‘Sportstalk’, aired before and after the talk format switched to music and back again.

His daughter said Rust considered himself a sports historian more than anything. Baseball and boxing were his favorites, and his books included autobiographies written with Joe Louis and Darryl Strawberry, along with an oral history of black baseball players that explored their struggles against racism.

When hosting ‘Sportstalk’, frequently callers would try and stump him with obscure questions. Most of the time they were disappointed.

His nightly sign-off for that show was: “Yesterday is a canceled check, tomorrow is just a promissory note, today is the only time we have so spend it wisely… Goodnight Edna baby.” Edna was his deceased wife.

During his lengthy career, Rust was heard on WWRL, WBLS and had a six-year stint on WNBC-TV.

Former co-workers describe Rust as ‘an absolute pro’. But, Rust wasn’t just an on-air broadcaster, he was an author as well.

His book ‘Get That Nigger Off the Field’ about blacks in baseball was well-received, as well as ‘My Life’, a book he wrote with legendary heavyweight champion, Joe Louis.

Rust wasn’t just interested in sports, he briefly co-owned a restaurant call ‘Rust Brown’ on the Upper West Side’s 96th St.