Sports

Forged in November

On Nov. 6th, 1959, the day before the fate of the largest strike in the nation’s history was decided by a Supreme Court decision, the Braddock High Tigers played the Purple Raiders of Scott High School in North Braddock for a chance to set the national high school football record…

On the Green

This is the biography of a golf tournament. Bob Murphy, a Pittsburgh real estate entrepreneur, had every reason to believe his newest venture in the late 1980s would succeed.

The Black Diamond

Before the civil war, what black community existed in Pittsburgh largely included Northern-​born free blacks and runaway slaves, many of whom had traveled the Underground Railroad.

Eye on the ball: Centerfielder McCutchen

Tuesday night, Aug. 25, 2009. There are 17,049 paying customers in PNC Park. If they are baseball fans, they are getting their money’s worth.

The Payoff Pitch

Nellie King is lying on a hospital bed, his once-​sinewy muscles flaccid, his face ashen. The man who once hurled sinking fastballs past Frank Robinson and Ernie Banks is so weak from pneumonia that he can barely draw a breath. He has this terrifying sensation of his skin separating from his…

From the catbird seat

In mid-​November, when daylight dwindles, the sky turns flannel gray and a cold drizzle waterboards Pittsburgh, I flap my old, arthritic wings and fly south to Florida — God’s waiting room.

The Man Behind the Players

Kevin Colbert grew up the youngest of five boys living in a house on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The house had one bedroom and one shower. The five boys lived in the attic, and they were orphaned by the time Colbert was 15.

A Mountain from the Hill

The wiper blades arched back and forth against the SUV’s windshield, sweeping away an icy rain. Over the narrow, cobblestone streets and vacant, littered lots of the Hill District, DeJuan Blair drove his grandmother’s Buick Rendezvous.

Queens of the Court

If you think it’s hard to compete with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the field, imagine competing with them for a chunk of the area’s sport-​obsessed, male-​dominated fan base. But two exceptional women, Agnus Berenato of the University of Pittsburgh and Suzie McConnell-​Serio of Duquesne University, are prying some eyes away.…

The Rub of the Green

In the language of golf, there is always a “hidden gem.” The hidden gem is a golf course that is little known or even unknown, that someone has visited and then pronounced a marvel. The course generally has been sitting there, probably for many decades, known but to the locals.

Now Batting: Roberto Clemente

Among the baseball bats, telegrams and uniforms displayed in Lawrenceville’s Engine House No. 25 is a 1960 photo some say predicted Roberto Clemente’s legacy. The former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder is leaping up to catch a ball, the cumulus clouds behind him forming what looks like angel’s wings.

A Flight of Fancy

A casual glance at Tom Erdner’s Gibsonia patio on this fine Sunday wouldn’t reveal anything unusual.But there are a few clues.For instance, on the table where he’s sitting, there’s a pen, note pad, watch, calculator and cell phone.Then there’s the serious look on Erdner’s face as he keeps looking back…

The Course Loved ‘Round the World

The U.S. Golf Association began staging the U.S. Open — the ultimate national championship — in 1895, and moves it year to year around the country. The USGA requires, first of all, a golf course that offers a stiff challenge, where the rough is deep, the greens fast and par…

Call Them Crazy

Tony Modzelewski can’t explain why he jumped off the Fort Pitt Bridge in January 1975, but modern psychology has him covered. Modzelewski was 17 years old, celebrating the Steelers’ first Super Bowl victory, and the group of revelers he was with decided to walk across the bridge.

Pittsburgh’s Claim to Fame

In honor of the midsummer classic’s July reappearance in Pittsburgh, I pulled out some interviews I did years ago with the Pittsburgh Post-​Gazette, and Dan Fitzpatrick got many new ones of great National Leaguers of the past and their recollections of the Pirates and Pittsburgh. Many remember the eccentricities of…
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