Baseball’s First Great Jewish Star

On April 15, 1947, Hank Greenberg played in his first game in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform.  He doubled in the only run of the game as the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 1-0 at Wrigley Field.  A few hours earlier Jackie Robinson had trotted onto the infield at Ebbets Field and integrated baseball.                                                                              Greenberg, baseball’s first …

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Pittsburgh Hopes to Finally Get a Team Worthy of its Ballpark

Editor’s note: This piece was written and originally published prior to the Pirates getting off to the second-best start of the 30 Major League Baseball teams.  Sixteen. That’s how many teams have won the World Series since PNC Park opened in 2001. Another five have gotten to the big autumn show and lost. That’s 21 …

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Ghost Park

Ghost Park The dog took off near the backhoe stuck in its rutand I followed through tan brush,watching his white shape zip up the mud path. A plateau halfway up the city mountain:an abandoned basketball court,chain-link strangled by vines,backboard standing indecisive abovea spread of soggy beer-cases, broken bottles, crinkled cans.Of course, a used condom here …

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The Fine Collection Follows and Augments a Long Line of Pittsburgh Benefactors

Andrew Carnegie provided the means to establish the Carnegie Institute, but he believed that it should be supported by those who use it. He wasn’t much of an art collector, so he left it to others to buy or give the grand building’s objects. The art museum’s collection grew very slowly at first, with purchases …

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And the Winner is…Us (The U.S.)

“There seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere.” — Buzz Lightyear Last week we looked at countries that are likely to suffer the most as America abandons its role as world cop. This week let’s take a look at countries which are likely to fare best. Previously in this series: China’s Future ProblemsBut remember …

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What Do I Know? Guillermo Velazquez

My story begins in Mexico City. I am the youngest of eight children, and my father passed away from liver disease when I was 11. When someone in your life dies while you are still young, you don’t really understand what’s happening. All I knew was that I saw my father working, and then he …

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Pittsburgh Public Theater’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” A Sincerely Funny Play

There are certain plays we admire for their timeless quality, that somehow not only survive, but thrive over decades, centuries, and even millennia.  “Oedipus Rex” and “Hamlet,” for example, have proven themselves in this respect, while others like “Waiting for Godot,” and “American Buffalo” certainly have the potential to join them.  Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance …

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Created by the Glaciers

There are only eight natural lakes in western Pennsylvania. Among the most beautiful is Lake Pleasant, in central Erie County between the towns of Waterford and Wattsburg. It’s wonderful for exploring, particularly for canoeing and kayaking. These lakes were formed by retreating continental glaciers, about 20,000 years ago. Tremendous blocks of ice were left behind …

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My Oldest Brother

Just before 6 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, I got in the car to drive down to Cincinnati, my hometown. I’ve done it 100 times at least since I moved to Pittsburgh 39 years ago. And I’ve done it for all manner of occasions. This time, it was to see my oldest brother. His heart …

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Buying Fragments of God: The Crazy Art World of the 1980s

If the 1960s changed America’s consciousness for the better, the 1980s certainly changed American commercialism for the worse. And to have lived during this latter period in New York City was to have felt the first tremors of this change, much like living near the epicenter of an earthquake and experiencing its initial shockwaves before …

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Pittsburgh Hopes to Finally Get a Team Worthy of its Ballpark

Editor’s note: This piece was written and originally published prior to the Pirates getting off to the second-best start of the 30 Major League Baseball teams.  Sixteen. That’s how many teams have won the World Series since PNC Park opened in 2001. Another five have gotten to the big autumn show and lost. That’s 21 …

Read More »

The Fine Collection Follows and Augments a Long Line of Pittsburgh Benefactors

Andrew Carnegie provided the means to establish the Carnegie Institute, but he believed that it should be supported by those who use it. He wasn’t much of an art collector, so he left it to others to buy or give the grand building’s objects. The art museum’s collection grew very slowly at first, with purchases …

Read More »

What Do I Know? Guillermo Velazquez

My story begins in Mexico City. I am the youngest of eight children, and my father passed away from liver disease when I was 11. When someone in your life dies while you are still young, you don’t really understand what’s happening. All I knew was that I saw my father working, and then he …

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Conway, Buford, Oshry, Morby, Moriarity, O’Reilly, Nutting, Ochester, Eberle, Courtney

Tom Conway, 71 International president of United Steelworkers since 2019, Conway was committed to making things in America and remained unwilling to accept that globalization was better. He tried to make changes in manufacturing that would lead to a cleaner environment and worker health and safety. A legendary negotiator who believed in the union ideal of “stronger …

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Speaking of Drinks…

Tiki two As I mentioned, I came of legal drinking age at a time when you could only get tiki drinks at Chinese restaurants. The pioneering Don The Beachcomber was no more, and as far as I knew all the Trader Vic’s had closed, except for a few locations abroad. Previously in this series: The …

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Spring Blooming Plants Blooming in Fall

It’s the holiday season and my rural Pennsylvania town is bursting with the signs of Christmas: wreaths hung on doors, trees strung with colorful lights, a creche erected in the town square — and spring-flowering plants in bloom.  My forsythia is blooming a bright yellow. White lilac flowers are just dying back. Pink magnolia buds …

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Charitable Giving: Why Does it Matter?

Editor’s note: In this season of giving, we asked some of the region’s nonprofit leaders to answer a simple question: Why is charitable giving so important in our society?  Part II Laura Kelly. Brothers BrotherCharitable giving builds a foundation for a better future by promoting understanding, kindness, and collective efforts towards positive change. When members …

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The Tiki Phenomenon

I had the great misfortune to reach legal drinking age just as the tiki drink phenomenon was turning into a parody of itself. Formerly terrific drinks such as the Zombie, the Scorpion and the Rum Runner were now available only in Chinese restaurants and they all tasted exactly alike, being made by then out of …

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