Sports

The American League’s Jackie Robinson

Black History Month recognizes and honors the greatness of African-Americans who triumphed over prejudice and hatred and brought about major changes in American culture and society.   In baseball, the player most honored during Black History Month is Jackie Robinson, who integrated the Major Leagues when he jogged onto the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on …

The American League’s Jackie Robinson Read More »

Pie Traynor and Dale Dodrill: Lest We Forget

When Pittsburgh sportswriters go back into the past, they tend to focus on the glory years of Roberto Clemente and Willis Stargell and of the Super Bowl dynasty, but there are players from earlier eras that richly deserve our remembrance of the glory of their times. There are four statues at PNC Park honoring Pirate …

Pie Traynor and Dale Dodrill: Lest We Forget Read More »

From Basket Ball to the NBA

While the debate over Pittsburgh’s status as a basketball town continues on barstools and radio waves across the region, what’s been settled by Claude Johnson, Carnegie Mellon University grad and author of The Black Fives: The Epic Story of Basketball’s Forgotten Era, is the important role that a black player from Homestead, once a “basket …

From Basket Ball to the NBA Read More »

A Victim of the Life He Led

Pittsburgh is unquestionably one of the great fighting cities in the United States. The city and its surrounding boroughs have produced world champions Billy Conn, Michael Moorer, Paul Spadafora, and a whole host of other world-class pugilists. Experts in the fight business place two-time world champion Harry Greb on top of Pittsburgh’s pugilistic slag pile. …

A Victim of the Life He Led Read More »

Have a Duke: Baseball and Beer

While baseball fans are happy with the pitch clock because it has, on average, cut 30 minutes off this season’s games, there has been an unanticipated problem.  If fans are spending less time at the ballpark, they’re consuming less food and drink. Major league teams have been particularly concerned about the declining consumption of beer.  …

Have a Duke: Baseball and Beer Read More »

The School of Social Work Basketball Dynasty

When people think of University of Pittsburgh athletes, the first person to come to mind is probably Kenny Pickett. Some may recall Aaron Donald, or Larry Fitzgerald. But Michael Whitelock?   It may be hard to believe, but the School of Social Work once produced a basketball dynasty. Not only that, but there have been several …

The School of Social Work Basketball Dynasty Read More »

Pittsburgh’s Golden Era of Slow-Pitch Softball

Pittsburgh’s slow-pitch softball home-run king, Paul Tomasovich passed away March 5 at the age of 89.  Described in his obituary as “the man, the myth, the legend,” he was fabled in the 1960s for his tape-measure home runs. His obituary mentions two of the most remembered Herculean home runs hit by Tomasovich.  In a game …

Pittsburgh’s Golden Era of Slow-Pitch Softball Read More »

Ralph Kiner, Frank Thomas and Greenberg Gardens

At the end of the 1946 season, the Detroit Tigers placed Hank Greenberg on waivers.  That season, he had led the American League in home runs and RBIs, but the Tigers they felt they couldn’t afford Greenberg’s $75,000 salary.  The 35-year-old Greenberg cleared waivers in the American League, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, under new ownership, …

Ralph Kiner, Frank Thomas and Greenberg Gardens Read More »

When Wampum High School was Small Yet Big

In the well-trod regions of the sportswriting firmament, there is a progression in cliches used to describe successful coaches. It starts with “winning” and escalates to “renowned” and culminates with — ultima gloria — “legendary.” With justification, sportswriters in Lawrence County, which borders Pennsylvania and Ohio about 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, reflexively apply the …

When Wampum High School was Small Yet Big Read More »

Our Football Fascination: Here’s The Thing

As the Chiefs and Eagles prepare to battle in the next Super Bowl, with all the attendant passion, pain and pageantry, let’s take a time out for a moment of reflection. Not on the game’s socio-political or human health dynamics, or other impositions on the fans’ enjoyment, but with a dive to the heart of …

Our Football Fascination: Here’s The Thing Read More »

To Run or Not to Run in the Pittsburgh Marathon

When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, there were four movie houses on my working-class South Side, so I saw plenty of movies.  I loved then all — the war movies, the romantic adventures, the musical comedies, the biblical epics, the baseball biographies, the hour-long oaters starring Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, but my favorites, …

To Run or Not to Run in the Pittsburgh Marathon Read More »

Remembering Roberto Clemente

When you are seven, everyone on your team is a hero. Some may be greater than others, but they all are heroes. And not just the players.  I do not know if the Pirates have a traveling secretary today. If they do, I do not know who it is. I do not know what a …

Remembering Roberto Clemente Read More »

A Final Chat with Franco

My wife and I were at a party Friday night at the History Center, and after a cocktail, chit chat and getting our picture taken with Santa, we were going to check out the John Kane painting exhibit before the seated dinner.  As we were making our escape from the crowd, however, I saw Franco …

A Final Chat with Franco Read More »

Is Pittsburgh Still a Baseball Town?

There has been a great deal written about the demise of baseball as America’s game.  After the excitement of last season’s NFL playoff games and the drama of the Super Bowl, sports commentators, lamenting painfully slow and dull baseball games dominated by batters swinging with uppercuts and striking out at a record pace, decided to …

Is Pittsburgh Still a Baseball Town? Read More »

When Jim Thorpe Almost Became a Pittsburgh Pirate

In the 1912 summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, Jim Thorpe won the demanding five-event  pentathlon and the grueling ten-event decathlon and was roundly declared the greatest athlete in the world.  He added to his stature that fall by becoming a football All-American after leading Carlisle to a stunning upset over a powerful Army team that …

When Jim Thorpe Almost Became a Pittsburgh Pirate Read More »

How Baseball Saved My Life

He dove into a garbage dump exploding with flies to avoid shrapnel from a Commie mortar bomb, lobbed just over the hill in North Korea. Diving into that dump may have saved his life. But what really saved his life was diving after a long fly ball and making an impossible catch. Well, not impossible …

How Baseball Saved My Life Read More »

1972: Triumph and Tragedy for Pittsburgh Sports Fans

The new decade had started off well for Pittsburgh sports fans.  In January 1970,  the Steelers used the top pick in the NFL draft to select Terry Bradshaw, a strong-armed quarterback from Louisiana Tech.  Drawing comparisons to the comic strip character Ozark Ike, he looked to have the talent to lead the Same-Old-Steelers, after decades …

1972: Triumph and Tragedy for Pittsburgh Sports Fans Read More »

They Still Come

It’s a harbinger of spring. As sure as robins begin to appear in backyards in Pittsburgh, Pirate baseball’s faithful travel to Bradenton, Florida. But Pirate City in Bradenton is locked down to fans, and the parking lots around LECOM Park are empty. Some still come. They peek through fences for a glimpse of minor league …

They Still Come Read More »

The Homestead Gray’s Vic Harris: Baseball’s Winningest Manager

When ranking baseball managers, historians often use the number of times a manager led teams to a victory in the World Series as a yardstick for measuring their greatness.  By that measurement, Major League baseball’s greatest managers are the New York Yankees Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel.  Each led Yankee teams to seven World Series …

The Homestead Gray’s Vic Harris: Baseball’s Winningest Manager Read More »

Baseball in Clemente’s Puerto Rico – a Dream Fulfilled

 I had dreamed for years – decades – of seeing a baseball game in the Caribbean. In April of 2017, I spent three unforgettable days in Havana, Cuba, and have been kicking myself ever since for not splurging on a taxi ride to an Industriales game. In January of 2020, just before COVID-19 made virtually …

Baseball in Clemente’s Puerto Rico – a Dream Fulfilled Read More »

Date With Destiny

The Washington & Jefferson football team had its work cut out for it on Jan. 2, 1922. The Presidents had gone unbeaten that year, taking on powerhouses such as Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Syracuse. They were invited to play the University of Detroit in a postseason matchup, and after winning that game, touted as a …

Date With Destiny Read More »

Roberto Clemente

50 Years Ago, Clemente Proved His Greatness

In the spring of 1955, at the same time that I was trying out for my high school baseball team and dreaming of becoming a big league ballplayer, the Pirates were breaking in a flashy rookie outfielder from Puerto Rico. By all accounts, Roberto Clemente was a natural.  Pittsburgh sportswriters described his arm as a …

50 Years Ago, Clemente Proved His Greatness Read More »

Top
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...
Responsive Menu
Add more content here...