Anderson, Ralph Alexander, Sr. (1890–1956)

By: Ruby E. Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: January 6, 2016

Ralph A. (Andy) Anderson, Sr., sportswriter and humanitarian, son of John and Anna Anderson, was born on May 14, 1890, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After two years at Carnegie Institute of Technology, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1917 at Fort Logan, Colorado, and served in the mounted engineers. After the armistice he was city editor and sports editor of the Houston Post from 1919 to 1923. In 1920 he married Ruby Rose Ellison. They had one son, Ralph A. Anderson, Jr.

While with the Post, Anderson was honored for his efforts in helping to establish sandlot baseball in Houston and the Houston Amateur Baseball Federation. In 1923 he went into the business of constructing and operating golf courses in several small towns around Houston. In 1923 he became sports editor of the Houston Press, with which he was affiliated the rest of his life. He wrote a column on hunting and fishing along the Texas Gulf Coast and conducted a radio program on outdoor sports for several years.

During World War II Anderson promoted the sale of war bonds and subsequently began rehabilitation work with returning disabled war veterans. This work included developing special social and recreational activities, with emphasis on the outdoors. He invented attachments for sports equipment to permit persons of various disabilities to participate. Under his direction annual wild-game dinners were instituted in several veterans' hospitals in South Texas; in addition to those hospitals, Anderson visited 172 other Veterans Administration hospitals over the United States as volunteer-at-large to entertain and instruct the veterans in recreational pursuits. Through his efforts a park for handicapped veterans was established on the east shore of Lake Houston. Later the park was named for him. Anderson's office at the Houston Press became a one-man bureau for helping the poor, the troubled, and parolees. Through his column he served as an intermediary between those in need and those in a position to help, and he received national recognition for his work. In 1953 he was also chosen National Fisherman of the Year and was elected to the Fishing Hall of Fame of the Sportsman's Club of America. An elementary school in southwest Houston was named for him in 1961. He died on January 24, 1956, at his home in Houston.

Mary Grimm Frazer, "Andy Anderson Brings Great Outdoors to Aid Disabled Veterans of World War II," Texas Press Messenger, October 1945. D. M. Frost, "A Heart as Big as Texas," Coronet, June 1952. Time, July 5, 1954.

  • Sports and Recreation
  • Media
Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Ruby E. Anderson, “Anderson, Ralph Alexander, Sr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 6, 2016

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