St. Louis Soccer HOF: Bob Burnes 'Benchwarmer' Award

Dave Lange
The Bob Burnes "Benchwarmer" Award

Dave Lange

Dave has been writing about soccer in St. Louis since the early 1970s. His pieces on soccer have appeared in publications such as The Sporting News, Soccer America magazine, World Class Coaching magazine, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He also served as a head coach at Busch Soccer Club for 11 years. He holds a U.S. Soccer Federation D national coaching license and a coaching certificate from the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB). A graduate of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (BA-mass communications) and Webster University (MA-business and communications), Lange was a member of the sports staff at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat from 1976-84 and worked in corporate communications at three Fortune 500 companies. He retired from Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., in 2008 and is an adjunct instructor in the School of Communications at Webster University. He and his wife, Janet, and son, Will, live in the St. Louis area.


2011 SPENSA Directors - Shirley Mc Broom & Kevin Byrne
2010 Jeff Cooper 
2009 Lori Chalupny
2008 Joe Hake
2007 Eddie Linehan
2006 Don Bouvette
2005 Joe Lyons
2004 Jim Lanigan
2003 Val Pelizzaro
2002 Bob Merz
2001 Denny Long
2000 H. "Red" Travis
1999 Tom Grant
1998 Jimmy Roe
1997 Msgr. Lou Meyer
1996 Mickey Connors


Bob Burnes, was a well-known sports editor for the Globe-Democrat and one of the original members of the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame. When he passed away the Executive Board chose to create an award in his honor.

This award is presented every year at the Annual Soccer Hall of Fame Banquet to someone who has shown outstanding support for the sport of Soccer in the St. Louis area whether it be as a player, coach or administrator.


Robert Liston Burnes was born in St. Louis July 14, 1914, graduated from CBC in 1931, and St. Louis University in 1935.  He began working in the Sports Department of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on August 27, 1935, and remained there until the Globe folded in October, 1966.  He was named Sports Editor on February 2, 1943 and Executive Sports Editor in January of 1966.


Bob started his famous “Benchwarmer” column in October 1946 and it appeared daily for 40 years, and hosted a sports program and “Sports Open Line” on KMOX for 39 years.  He was known as a kind individual who loved his family, his God, and his chosen profession, in that order.  He was revered and respected by all who came his way, whether it was the unknown man on the street, the little child seeking autographs, the many sports stars he traveled with, or the CEO’s of the large corporations.  He had time for them all and he rarely forgot a name.


He was a man of impeccable energy, churning out his column on an old manual typewriter at home, stuffing the copy in his pocket, heading to the office and entering it into the computer to be printed.  Then he would always take time to visit with members of the staff before rushing off to a speaking engagement, radio station, or a meeting with one of the many organizations gathering to raise funds for the less fortunate.


Bob had several heartbreaks through the years: the death of his father, Brian P. Burnes in a robbery in 1959, the closing of the Globe-Democrat in 1986, his dismissal by KMOX in 1992.  But the one tragedy he never recovered from was the loss of his daughter, Cathie, who died of an aneurysm.  Cathie followed her Dad as a budding sportswriter for the Post-Dispatch.  Still Bob never wavered.  He took the time to recognize the many friends, present and former co-workers who had shown so much support for Bob and his dear wife, Adele, in their time of sorrow.


 Bob Burnes was the author of two published books, “Fifty Golden Years of Sports” in 1950 and the “Big Red, The Story of the Football Cardinals” in 1975.  He contributed articles for such chronicles as The Sporting News, Baseball Digest, Sport Magazine, The St. Louis Review, and even The Saturday Evening Post.  He served on the President’s Council of St. Louis University, was a 50 year member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, and the organization closest to his heart – The St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame (formerly the Old Time Soccer Hall of Fame) in which he was a charter member and director since it’s formation in 1971.  Bob is sorely missed by the many thousands of lives he touched in all walks of life.