Russ, the son of John P and Narcy Russ, grew up working on his family's farm near El Paso, AR2.
Russ' first attempt at professional baseball appears to have been in 1912 when Mobile manager and fellow Arkansas resident Mike Finn signed him at age 203. He did not fair well, however, in his first exhibition game, played in New Orleans against the Cleveland Naps. In two innings pitched, he allowed 5 runs on 7 hits. He asked Finn not to hold it against though, having faced famous hitters Nap Lajoie and Joe Jackson. Nevertheless, Russ was released to Huntsville of the Southeastern League soon afterward4. It's unclear whether he actually appeared with Huntsville that season.
In 1914, Russ pitched for Boise and Helena of the Union Association. Later, in 1917, he was signed by Waco of the Texas League5. He appeared in at least one game with Waco6. Later that season, he appeared with both Tulsa17 and Ardmore8 of the Western Association.
Russ moved to Phoenix, AZ before 19309 and died there in January, 198310.
"Manager Mike Finn, of the Mobile Club, of the Southern League, has released unconditionally . . . pitcher Russ, a semi-professional from Arkansas, to the Huntsville Club, of the Southeastern League."4
"The gathering of a bunch of "rookies" always develops some odd characters, and Mobile has one in Fizer Russ, a pitcher hulling from the interior of Arkansas. He rode a mule 20 miles to report to Manager Finn at Little Rock and came on to Mobile to make his mark. After enduring the usual initiations ceremonies, Russ got his first trial in one of the game with Cleveland. He pitched two innings and the Naps got seven hits and five runs while he was in the box. It looked like it was all off with him, but he showed right there that he had been some student of base ball. Russ called Finn aside and explained that he did not think his showing should be held against him. he noted the fact that among those who had found his offerings were Joe Jackson. Nap Lajoie and Buddy Ryan., "and I reckon they are some hitters against most any pitcher," he argued. Manager Mike Finn reletend and told Russ he would have another chance. "I guess you were not to blame," said Finn. "Any pitcher who faces such batters as Jackson, Lajoie and Ryan in one inning is liable to look bad."3
" . . . Russ, who was released by Tulsa, staged a comeback, winning easily with the aid of his [Ardmore] teammate, who put up an exceptionally clever game in all departments."8
" . . . Russ was taken on for a tryout [by Ardmore]. He won his first game Friday, beating the [Sherman] Browns 6 to 3."11
Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.
1. Russ' WWI Draft Card
2. 1910 U.S. Census
3. The Sporting News, 3/28/1912
4. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3/27/1912
5. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 2//25/1917
6. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 4/8/1917
7. Tulsa Daily World, 4/24/1917
8. The Daily Ardmoreite, 6/2/1917
9. 1930 U.S. Census
10. Social Security Death Index
11. The Daily Ardmoreite, 6/3/1917