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Sports in Pittsburgh

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Sports in Pittsburgh

Sports in Pittsburgh have been played dating back to the American Civil War. Baseball, hockey, and the first professional American football game had been played in the city by 1895. Pittsburgh was first known as the "City of Champions" when the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Panthers, and Pittsburgh Steelers won multiple championships in the 1970s.[1] Today, the city has three major professional sports franchises, the Pirates, Steelers, and Penguins; while the University of Pittsburgh Panthers compete in a Division I BCS conference, the highest level of collegiate athletics in the United States, in both football and basketball. Local universities Duquesne and Robert Morris also field Division I teams in men's and women's basketball and Division I FCS teams in football. Robert Morris also fields Division I men's and women's ice hockey teams.

Pittsburgh is once again being called the "City of Champions" as its Steelers and Penguins are recent champions of the NFL and NHL, respectively, in 2009. These accomplishments and others helped Pittsburgh earn the title of "Best Sports City" in 2009 from the Sporting News.[2] Including the 2008-09 seasons, the Steelers have reached the NFL playoffs in six of the last eight seasons—winning two Super Bowl titles—and the Penguins have reached the NHL playoffs the last four years with back-to-back finals appearances, an Atlantic Division Crown, and a Stanley Cup championship.

The flag of Pittsburgh is colored with black and gold, based on the colors of William Pitt's coat of arms; Pittsburgh is the only city in the United States in which all professional sporting teams share the same colors. The city's first National Hockey League (NHL) franchise, the Pittsburgh Pirates were the first to wear black and gold as their colors. The colors were adopted by founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Art Rooney, in 1933. In 1948, the Pittsburgh baseball Pirates switched their colors from red and blue to black and gold. Pittsburgh's second NHL franchise, the Pittsburgh Penguins, wore blue and white, due to general manager Jack Riley's upbringing in Ontario. In 1979, after the Steelers and Pirates had each won their respective league championships, the Penguins altered their color scheme to match, despite objections from the Boston Bruins.[3][4]

In 1975, late Steelers Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Dan Marino, and Joe Montana.

PNC Park and the city of Pittsburgh


  • Professional team sports 1
    • Baseball 1.1
    • Basketball 1.2
    • Hockey 1.3
    • Football 1.4
    • Soccer 1.5
    • Rugby 1.6
  • Individual sports and recreation 2
    • Golf 2.1
    • Fishing 2.2
    • Rowing/Rafting/Kayaking 2.3
    • Trails/Camping/Biking 2.4
    • Tennis 2.5
    • Skiing/skating 2.6
  • College sports 3
    • Football 3.1
    • Basketball 3.2
    • Other collegiate sports 3.3
  • Annual events 4
    • Rivers 4.1
    • Motorsports 4.2
    • Running 4.3
    • Basketball 4.4
    • Cycling 4.5
    • Awards banquet 4.6
  • Other events 5
  • People 6
    • Cradle of quarterbacks 6.1
  • Performance of the 4 major sports 7
  • All time pro franchises 8
    • Professional arenas 8.1
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11

Professional team sports

The City of Pittsburgh has had various professional sports franchises throughout its history and today is home to three teams competing at the highest professional level in their respective sports: the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL, and the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball.


We had 'em all the way

Pirates broadcaster Bob Prince, after a comeback[8]

Prior to 1876, three amateur Pittsburgh baseball teams—the Enterprise, the Xanthas, and the Olympics—competed, most often at Recreation Park.[9] On April 15, 1876, Recreation Park was the site of a game between the Xanthas and the Pittsburgh Alleghenies (alternately spelled "Alleghenys"[10]), which would later be renamed the Pirates. The Alleghenies won the game 7–3.[11] The 1877 squad was the most successful yet, finishing within 1 game of the pennant in the International Association; only a Canadian team had a better record, allowing the city potential bragging rights for being the best American team that season. 1882 marked the first "major league" and fully professional season for the Pittsburgh Alleghenies (Pirates) and in 1887, the Alleghenies moved from American Association to the National League after owner William Nimick became frustrated over a contract dispute.[12] The Pirates were purchased in 1900 by Barney Dreyfuss, who would go down in history as the "Father of the modern World Series" and its precursor, the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup, both of which saw the Pirates participate in the inaugural series. He recruited Hall of Famers Fred Clarke and Pittsburgh native Honus Wagner and built the first concrete and steel (first "modern") baseball stadium, Forbes Field. Under Dreyfuss, the Pirates won pre-World Series world titles in 1901 and 1902, National League pennants from 1901–1903, 1909, 1925 and 1927 and World Series in 1909 and 1925. The 1902 squad set major league records for winning percentage and even today is the second most winning team ever fielded in the sport.[13] The franchise won the World Series three more times—in 1960, 1971, and 1979. In 1960, the team became the first to win a World Series on a home run, and remain the only team to win on a homer in the decisive seventh game. In 1979, the Pirates tied their own 1925 World Series team, coming back from a 1-game to 3 deficit, winning three in a row for the title, thus becoming (and remain) the only franchise in the history of all sports to win world titles more than once coming back from a 1–3 deficit. The 1979 Pirates also are unique in that they are the only team in all sports to have their players capture all four MVP awards (Seasonal, All Star Game, Playoff and World Series) in a single season.[14] Since 1970 the team has won their division and qualified for the playoffs nine times, six in the 1970s and three times in a row from 1990 to 1992. Pirates have won the league MVP award in 1960, 1966, 1979, 1990 and 1992 and the Cy Young Award in 1960 and 1990. In 2001, the team opened PNC Park on the city's North Shore, regularly ranked as one of the top three baseball parks in the country.

In addition to the Pirates, the Pittsburgh Stogies, Pittsburgh Burghers and Pittsburgh Rebels played in various leagues from 1884 to 1915. The Rebels won the pennant in 1912 and finished just a half game shy of a pennant in 1915.[15] The Pittsburgh Keystones, Homestead Grays (playing in the city limits), and Pittsburgh Crawfords played in the Negro Leagues. With players including Josh Gibson and Cumberland Posey the Grays won 12 league titles—the most by any Negro League team[1]—including nine consecutive from 1937 to 1945. The Crawfords finished their eight-year existence with a .633 winning percentage, with a line-up including Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, and Satchel Paige and claimed four straight league titles from 1933 until 1936, with the 1935 team judged by some as the greatest one to ever take the field in the Negro Leagues, or perhaps in baseball period. Just as they initially played in the first "modern" ballpark in the majors (Forbes Field), Crawfords owner Gus Greenlee constructed the first steel and concrete "modern" stadium in the Negro Leagues, with Greenlee Field opening in the Hill District on April 29, 1932.[16]


The city has enjoyed championship basketball since the sport began. Pittsburgh South Side won titles in 1904, 1907 and 1913, coming in second place in 1908, 1911 and 1915. The "Black Fives" league enjoyed success in the city with Monticello-Loendi winning national championships in 1912, and four in a row from 1920-23. The Pittsburgh Pirates from 1937–39 and Pittsburgh Raiders in 1944-45 continued professional basketball in the city in the National Basketball League. Pittsburgh had one of the founding members of what became the NBA, the Pittsburgh Ironmen however only played a single season 1947-48 before folding. The Pittsburgh Renaissance (or Rens) played from 1961 until 1963 in the ABL, posting the city's best record in almost 40 years when they finished 2nd in 1962.

The most lasting legacy of pro roundball in Pittsburgh was the Pittsburgh Pipers-Pittsburgh Condors of the American Basketball Association from 1967 until 1972. In the first ABA World Championship in 1968, the Pipers defeated the New Orleans Buccaneers, which were owned by Harry Connick, Sr..

After the ABA Pipers/Condors folded in 1972 the city hosted the Pittsburgh Piranhas of the CBA in the mid-1990s. The franchise made it to the championship round in the 1994-95 season only to come away second best. In the late 2000s the Pittsburgh Xplosion, a development league team owned by former NBA player Freddie Lewis,[17] played in a revamped ABA/CBA at Mellon Arena and the Petersen Events Center before ceasing operations prior to the 2008-09 season because of the economic recession. Another professional basketball team, the Pittsburgh Phantoms of the American Basketball Association, played during the 2009-10 season and held their games at the Carnegie Library of Homestead, but folded prior to the following season.


First played in Pittsburgh in 1895, ice hockey grew in popularity after the International Professional Hockey League, the first fully professional hockey league, by the Pittsburgh Professionals.

Pittsburgh Civic Arena was replaced by CONSOL Energy Center in 2010

The Gardens housed the largest indoor rink in the world and was home to the city's first NHL franchise, the Pittsburgh Pirates, from 1925 to 1930. The Gardens also was home to the Pittsburgh Shamrocks and the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets of the International Hockey League as well as the Pittsburgh Hornets of the American Hockey League.[18]

In 1961, Pittsburgh Civic Arena was constructed for use of the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Founded, by Jack McGregor as part of the 1967 NHL expansion, the Pittsburgh Penguins have played home games at Civic Arena since their inception.[19] The Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992. The franchise recorded their third Stanley Cup in 2009.[20] The teams included players Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens, Jaromír Jágr, and Mario Lemieux.[21] Lemieux holds multiple franchise records and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.[22][23] He suffered from multiple injuries, including Hodgkin's lymphoma, throughout his career.[24] In 1999, Lemieux purchased the Penguins and saved the franchise from bankruptcy. He returned to play one year later as the first player/owner of the modern era.[25] The Penguins, led by top point scorers Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, returned to the Stanley Cup finals in 2008 and won the franchise's third Cup in 2009.[26] As of 2008, the Penguins rank 113% above the national average for male television viewers aged 18 to 34.[27] Forbes projects that the franchise will become more valuable after their move to the Consol Energy Center in 2010.[28]


On November 12, 1892, William Heffelfinger was paid $500 to participate in an American football game for the Allegheny Athletic Association. With this transaction, Heffelfinger became the first person to be paid to play football. The first professional football game was held at Recreation Park in Pittsburgh. Heffelfinger scored the game's only points as the Allegheny Athletic Association defeated the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, 4–0.[29][30] The early professional football era was also represented in Pittsburgh, by top athletic association teams. The Duquesne Country and Athletic Club, was the top pro team in the state in 1898 and 1899. Later the Homestead Library & Athletic Club, fielded the top pro team in the state in 1900-1901. In 1902 the top players in the area, mainly from the Duquesne Country and Athletic Club line-up, formed the Pittsburgh Stars of the first National Football League. The Stars were suspected of being financed by Barney Dreyfuss and William Chase Temple, the owners of baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates. The team featured baseball players in the line-up including Christy Mathewson, a future Hall of Fame pitcher with the New York Giants and Fred Crolius, and outfielder with Pirates. The team won the league's only championship in 1902.

In 1933, as the oldest of nine children Art Rooney, who had been raised on the North Side of Pittsburgh, founded the Pittsburgh Steelers.[31] Originally nicknamed the Pirates,[32] the team later changed their name to the Steelers, to represent the city's heritage of producing steel. The Steelers' first season with a winning record came in 1942. However, they lost their first playoff game in 1947.[33] In 1969, the Steelers hired head coach Chuck Noll who strategically drafted players in order to improve the team.[34] Three years later, in the first playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium Pittsburgh's rookie running back Franco Harris returned an errant pass that bounced off an opposing player for a game winning touchdown in a play that later became labeled the Immaculate Reception. In 1974, the Steelers won their first Super Bowl in franchise history—a feat which they would repeat in 1975, 1978, and 1979 to become the first NFL franchise to win four Super Bowls. In 1992, Noll was succeeded by Bill Cowher, who led the franchise to its fifth Super Bowl victory in 2005. Mike Tomlin succeeded Cower and led the Steelers to an NFL record sixth Super Bowl victory in 2008.[33] As of 2009, the Steelers have 18 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[35] In October 1964, Ernie Stautner, who played on the Steelers from 1950 to 1963, became the only Steelers' player to have his number—70—retired.[36] In 2008, ranked Steelers' fans as the best in the NFL, citing their "unbelievable" sellout streak of 299 consecutive games.[37][38] Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, son of founder Art Rooney, became the majority owner of the Steelers in November 2008 along with his son Art II, after they bought all of the shares of two of his four brothers.[39]

Outside of the NFL, the city was represented by the Pittsburgh Americans of the second American Football League in 1936 and 1937. It was also be briefly represented by the Pittsburgh Maulers of the United States Football League, in 1984, and the Pittsburgh Gladiators (now the Tampa Bay Storm), of the first Arena Football League from 1987 until 1990. A new Arena Football League team, the Pittsburgh Power, play in the Consol Energy Center.[40]

In addition, Pittsburgh is home to three women's full-contact football teams: the Pittsburgh Passion, the Pittsburgh Force and the Steel City Renegades. Founded in 2002, as members of the National Women's Football Association and having played in the Independent Women's Football League, the Passion are currently members of the Women's Football Alliance.[41] The team went 12–0 and won a national title in 2007 as members of the NWFA.[42] A newer team, the Pittsburgh Force, were founded in 2008 and are members of the WFA. The Renegades, founded in 2009, are members of the Women's Spring Football League.

The "most established area minor-league football team" the Pittsburgh Colts are members of the North American Football League's Regional American Football League.[43][44]


The Pittsburgh Riverhounds are members of the USL Professional Division and play in Highmark Stadium.[45]

The amateur club Pittsburgh Beadling have contested for regional and national titles for over 100 years, winning the National Amateur Cup in 1954,[46] and historic teams such as the suburban Harmarville Hurricanes won national titles in 1952 and 1956 and contested for it in 1953. Pittsburgh Gallatin, Pittsburgh-Heidleberg and Pittsburgh Morgan Strasser all winning national titles in the 1920s, the 1930s, the 1940s and the 1950s.

The region's interest in soccer continues as modern stars such as natives Justin Evans, Meghan Klingenberg, Don Malinowski, John Stollmeyer, A. J. Wood and Marvell Wynne II have all achieved international success.


The Pittsburgh Sledgehammers are a rugby league team based in Cheswick, PA (outside of Pittsburgh) which was formed in 2010 and plays in the AMNRL competition.

The Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union. Over 300 active players wear the Harlequin jerseys every year at the Division 1 men’s, Under 19, and Under 14 levels. In 1995, the Founders Field Center for Athletic Leadership was developed to support the Harlequins Men's and Youth programs. The 12 acre Founders Field facility includes lighting, irrigation, a clubhouse, locker rooms, concessions, and parking.

Individual sports and recreation


Golf has deep roots in the area with the region boasting the oldest course in continuous use in the nation: Foxburg Country Club dating from 1887. The suburban Oakmont Country Club has hosted the U.S. Open championships more than any other course in the nation (8) along with two U.S. Women's Open championships, three PGA Championships, and eight U.S. Amateurs.

Such golf legends as Arnold Palmer, Jim Furyk and Rocco Mediate learned the game and began their careers on Pittsburgh area courses. Suburban courses such as Laurel Valley Golf Club and the Pittsburgh Field Club have hosted PGA Championships (1937, 1965), the Ryder Cup (1975), LPGA Championships (1957-1958), Senior Players Championships (2012-2013) and the Senior PGA Championship (2005).

Local courses have sponsored annual major tournaments for 39 years:

The region has deep roots in the sport of Golf boasting the oldest continuous country club in the U.S. at Foxburg dating back to 1887.

The suburban Oakmont Country Club has hosted the U.S. Open Championships more than any other course at eight, and thus the Pittsburgh metro area more than any other metro. Oakmont has also hosted two U.S. Women's Open championships, three PGA Championships, and eight U.S. Amateurs. Other area courses such as Laurel Valley Golf Club and the Pittsburgh Field Club have hosted PGA Championships, the Ryder Cup, LPGA Championships and Senior PGA Championships.

The region has hosted annual PGA Tour events such as the 84 Lumber Classic (2001–2006) at Mystic Rock, the Dapper Dan Open 1939-49, the Pittsburgh Open (1950s), the Tri State Open (1980s),[47] the Pittsburgh Senior Classic (1993–1998) and since 2010 the annual Mylan Classic.

Golf greats such as natives Arnold Palmer, Jim Furyk, Rocco Mediate, Scott Dunlap Bob Friend, Sam Parks, Jr., Jim Simons, Stephanie Sparks, Lew Wersham and Carol Semple and learned the game on area courses.


Since the 1960s the city has focused on revitalizing its rivers, hosting the Bassmaster Classic and the Forrest Wood Cup in the 2000s and seeing a boom in local fishing participation. Among the variety are Catfish and Trout. [4]


Pittsburgh is the host city for both the annual Three Rivers Regatta (since 1977) and the annual Head of the Ohio (since 1987) races and events. The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University as well as several area high schools have long standing rowing teams.

In 2010 National Geographic named the city to its top six of "Best Cities for Kayaking". [5] Kayak Pittsburgh is the largest river recreation rental in the area located on the North Shore on the Allegheny River.

Suburban Ohiopyle State Park offers some of the best white-water rafting in the country.


Pittsburgh has multiple mountain biking areas close to the city in area parks and in the surrounding suburbs. Frick Park has biking trails and Hartwood Acres Park has many miles of single track trails. A recent project, "Rails to Trails", has converted miles of former railroads to recreational trails, including a Pittsburgh-Washington D.C. bike/walking trail. Kayaking is popular on the city's three rivers.

Pittsburgh and its region are internationally known for its extensive and varied trail system. Such assets as the Three Rivers, Ohio River, Youghiogheny River, Beaver River, Indian Creek, Panhandle, Laurel Highlands, Rachel Carson, Five Star and Montour offer stunning, natural, suburban and urban views of the metropolitan area. The Great Allegheny Passage provides an all natural-trail (non motorized) link to Washington, D.C., while the North Country Trail passes through the northern suburbs of the city and connects Bismarck, North Dakota to the Plattsburgh, New York area, with such cities as Duluth, Minnesota and Buffalo, New York in its path.

Within the urban core of the city and its immediate surroundings the Steps of Pittsburgh offer an urban hiking experience. "Urban oasis" parks that bring the wilds of nature into the middle of the urban core and feature over a mile of trails within their individual boundaries include: Point State, Frick, Highland, Schenley, Riverview, Grandview, South Side, Riverfront, Three Rivers, Point of View, and Roberto Clemente.

Large 500-2,000 acre suburban parks that feature several miles of diverse trails each are plentiful throughout the metropolitan area.

For hikers/trailblazers that desire a historical or cultural element to nature the metropolitan area offers the Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Bushy Run Battlefield, the Bear Run conservancy containing both Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob, the smaller yet hikable Meadowcroft Rock Shelter features pre-Columbian archeology. The large urban parks described earlier such as Schenley Park includes several historical/cultural sites including Phipps Conservatory and proximity to Schenley Plaza, the Cathedral of Learning, Hillman Library and the Frick Gallery. Riverview includes the Allegheny Observatory and Point includes the Fort Pitt Museum and the remains of Fort Duquesne.

For true environmentalists and wildlife fans the metro area includes the Jennings Environmental Education Center, as well the Allegheny Islands State Park, Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge and Ohioplye for hiking and water sports.


Such teams as the Pittsburgh Triangles have built a small but loyal fan base for tennis in the region, being a perennial championship contender in the 1970s and winning a world title in 1975. Generations later the region still has deep tennis roots with the year-round all-weather Mellon Park Tennis Center being a world class facility for the sport, and helping to develop natives such as Bjorn Fratangelo, Bonnie Gadusek, Donald Johnson and Gretchen Magers in succeeding in international competition and rankings.

From 1979 to 1984 the city also hosted a yearly international tournament, the Pittsburgh Open.


Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania, Wisp Ski Resort and Boyce Park offer skiing with both PPG Place and North Park offering ice skating. In 2011, the Pittsburgh Penguins created a new public rink in the South Side neighborhood's Southside Works called "Penguin Pond".

Year round ice skating and skating events can be enjoyed at indoor area rinks including the Rostraver Ice Garden, Island Sports Center, IceoPlex at Southpointe and Bladerunners Ice Complex.

Such notable olympians as natives Kristi Leskinen, Kylie Gleason Suna Murray, Ron Robertson, Mike Seibert, Suzanne Semanick, Jamie Silverstein and Taylor Toth have trained and began their careers at area facilities.

College sports

There are several universities within the city that field athletic teams in NCAA Division 1 including the University of Pittsburgh (often referred to as "Pitt"), Duquesne University and Robert Morris University. Of these, the University of Pittsburgh is the only school that is a member of the so-called "Power Five" conferences that are primary partners in the College Football Playoff structure (the Atlantic Coast Conference). Other universities in Pittsburgh that field athletic teams include Carnegie Mellon University (Division III), Chatham University (Division III), Point Park University (NAIA), and Carlow University (NAIA).


College football in Pittsburgh dates back to the Orange Bowl, Carnegie Tech in the 1938 Sugar Bowl, and the University of Pittsburgh appearing in four Rose Bowls (1927, 1929, 1932, 1936) as well as nearby Washington and Jefferson College in the 1922 Rose Bowl.[48] In particular, Pitt was a national power during this era, claiming 8 national championships under the guidance of coaching legends such as Pop Warner and Jock Sutherland. More recently, the Panthers won another National Championship in 1976 and competed for several more through the 1980s. Multiple inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame played at Pitt, including Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett, Mike Ditka, and Larry Fitzgerald.[49] Pitt is the only university in Western Pennsylvania to still play college football at the highest level, the Football Bowl Subdivision, while Duquesne and Robert Morris have football teams that compete in the Football Championship Subdivision, and Carnegie Mellon fields a Division III football team.


The Petersen Events Center, basketball home of the Pittsburgh Panthers

Three Pittsburgh universities, the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, and Robert Morris University, compete in NCAA Division I basketball. Pitt and Duquesne are the traditional basketball powers in the city, but all three universities have made multiple appearances in the National Invitation Tournament and NCAA Tournament. Pitt claims two pre-NCAA tournament National Championships in 1928 and 1930 [6] while Duquesne won the NIT title in 1955, its second straight trip to the NIT title game. Since the 2000–2001 season, a team from the region has always reached a post-season tournament, with Pitt having won multiple Big East Conference championships and having appeared in nine consecutive NCAA Tournaments, advancing to the Sweet 16 four times and the Elite Eight once. In the years 1941, 1964, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1989, 1992 and 2008, two of the city's universities sent teams to tournaments; in 2009 and 2010, all three universities earned bids to post season tournaments.

Pitt women's basketball has also made recent appearances in the NCAA Tournament.[50] A rivalry game between Pitt and Duquesne, termed the City Game, is played annually between the two schools' men's and women's basketball teams, as well as their baseball teams.

Other collegiate sports

Along with college football and men's and women's basketball, the area universities compete in many additional sports. The University of Pittsburgh also fields NCAA Division I teams in baseball (its oldest sport first played in 1869[51]), cross country, gymnastics, track and field, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.[52] The Duquesne Dukes, in addition to many of the sports above, also participates in Division I lacrosse, golf, and rowing.[53] Robert Morris University fields Division I teams in men's and women's hockey, among other sports.[54]

Annual events

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

Pittsburgh also hosts several annual major sporting events, including the:

The city's vibrant rivers have attracted annual world title competitions of the Forrest Wood Cup in 2009 and the Bassmaster Classic in 2005.

Annual events continue during the winter months at area ski resorts such as Boyce Park, Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Wisp as well as ice skating at PPG Place and North Park.


A Formula-1 ChampBoat Series race, the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta, which is the largest inland regatta in the country during July at Point State Park.[55] There is also an annual large rowing regatta, the Head of the Ohio, which was founded in 1987 and is one of the largest inland regattas in the United States.[56]


The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, the last remaining vintage automobile race run on city streets in the United States, is held annually at Schenley Park.[57][58]


For 30 years Pittsburgh has also hosted a large 10K and 5K road race, the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race, which attracts nearly 10,000 athletes and has been ranked as a Top Twenty Multi-Race Events by USA Track & Field's publication On The Roads.[59] In addition, the 20th Pittsburgh Marathon will be hosted in the city in May 2009.[60]


Pittsburgh was previously home to the first national high school all-star basketball game, The Dapper Dan Roundball Classic, from 1965 to 1992, prior to its move to Detroit and later Chicago.[61] It has long been home to the City Game between Pitt and Duquesne.


Since 1983 the Dirty Dozen Cycle Race has been held in the city.

Awards banquet

Since 1936 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has hosted an annual local and national celebrity and sport star dinner first at the William Penn Hotel then at the Hilton ballrooms and more recently at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Other events

Pittsburgh has its own cricket league conducted by Pittsburgh Cricket Association[62] which was founded in 2005. The league features about 16 teams and the games are held at linbrook park and edgebrook field. The Pittsburgh Cricket Association, revived in 2004 from the long dormant 1882 Pittsburgh Cricket Club charter, comprises 16 active teams and more than 250 members.

PCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized for charitable purposes to further the sport of cricket in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. The specific purposes for which this corporation is organized are: To promote, encourage, foster and cultivate interest in the sport of cricket; To initiate, sponsor, promote and carry out plans, policies and activities that would further the development and advancement of cricket in Pittsburgh and North Eastern PA; To develop, foster and train amateur athletes for representation in state, national and international cricket competitions; to promote building of facilities for other non-traditional sports like badminton, table tennis and rugby. [63]


Pittsburgh native Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks

Multiple professional athletes were born or raised in the Pittsburgh area. Major League Baseball players Ken Griffey, Sr.,[64] his son Ken Griffey, Jr.,[65] and Hall of Famer Stan Musial were born in Donora, Pennsylvania.[66] Hall of Fame inductee, player and manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Honus Wagner was born and raised in Chartiers.[67] Major League outfielder Tito Francona and pitcher Doc Medich were born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.[68][69] Super Bowl winning coaches Bill Cowher and Mike Ditka were born in Pittsburgh and Carnegie respectively.[70][71] Super Bowl winning quarterback Joe Namath and Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett were born in Beaver Falls and Rochester respectively. 3 Time Super Bowl MVP Joe Montana is from New Eagle. Jim Kelly from Pittsburgh was the leading QB of the Buffalo Bills to 4 straight Super Bowl appearances. Johnny Unitas, National Football League's most valuable player in 1959, 1964 and 1967 is from Pittsburgh as well.[72][73] Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban and Basketball Hall of Fame member Jack Twyman were born in Pittsburgh.[74][75] Olympic gold medalists Swin Cash and Kurt Angle were born in McKeesport and Pittsburgh respectively.[76][77][78] Professional golfers Rocco Mediate and Arnold Palmer were born in Greensburg and Latrobe respectively.[79][80] Author Jim O'Brien, who was born in Pittsburgh, has authored 20 books about Pittsburgh sports.[81]

Cradle of quarterbacks

The Pittsburgh region also has developed many notable athletes that have gone on to outstanding careers in professional sports. The region has produced a multitude of Johnny Lujack, Jeff Hostetler, Gus Frerotte, Willie Thrower, Warren Heller, Johnny Gildea, Tyler Palko, Alex Van Pelt, Sandy Stephens, Terry Hanratty, Mike McMahon, Major Harris, Matt Cavanaugh, Chuck Fusina, Rod Rutherford, Ted Marchibroda, Babe Parilli, John Hufnagel, Tom Sherman, Richie Lucas, Boyd Brumbaugh, Scott Zolak, Ed Matesic, Tom Clements, Coley McDonough, Charley Seabright and current Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch all hail from within a 50-mile radius of the city.

Performance of the 4 major sports

All time pro franchises

Franchise Years Sport Venue League League Championships*
Pittsburgh Pirates 1882–present baseball PNC Park Major League Baseball 1901, 1902, 1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, 1979
Pittsburgh Steelers 1933–present American football Heinz Field National Football League 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 2005, 2008
Pittsburgh Penguins 1967–present ice hockey CONSOL Energy Center National Hockey League 1990-91, 1991–92, 2008–09
Pittsburgh Power 2011–present arena football CONSOL Energy Center Arena Football League
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1999–present soccer Highmark Stadium USL Professional Division
Steel City Yellow Jackets 2014–present basketball CCAC Allegheny Campus American Basketball Association
Pittsburgh Colts 1979–present American football South Stadium North American Football League
Pittsburgh Bullets 2011–present basketball Youth Places Sportsplex North American Basketball Development Leagues Association
Pittsburgh Sledgehammers 2010–present rugby league Founders Field USARL
Pittsburgh Passion 2003–present women's American football George K. Cupples Stadium Women's Football Alliance 2007 (NWFA), 2014, 2015 (IWFL)
Pittsburgh Force 2009–present women's American football Campbell Field Munhall, PA Women's Football Alliance
Steel City Renegades 2010–present women's American football Chartiers Valley Primary School Fields Women's Spring Football League
Pittsburgh Pipers/Condors 1967-68, 1969–70, 1970-72 basketball Pittsburgh Civic Arena American Basketball Association 1967-68
Pittsburgh Stogies 1884 baseball Exposition Park I Union Association
Pittsburgh Burghers 1890 baseball Exposition Park Players' League
Pittsburgh Filipinos/Stogies/Rebels 1912–1915 baseball Exposition Park United States Baseball League, Federal League 1912 (Pennant)
Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets 1915–1925, 1930–1932 ice hockey Duquesne Gardens International Hockey League 1924, 1925
Pittsburgh Keystones 1922 baseball Ammon Field Negro National League
Homestead Grays 1912–1950 baseball Forbes Field Negro League 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1944, 1948
Pittsburgh Pirates 1925–1930 ice hockey Duquesne Gardens National Hockey League
Pittsburgh Ironmen 1946-47 basketball Duquesne Gardens Basketball Association of America
Pittsburgh Crawfords 1931–1938 baseball Greenlee Field Negro League 1932*, 1933*, 1934, 1935, 1936
Pittsburgh Keystones 1895–1904 ice hockey Schenley Park Casino, Duquesne Gardens Western Pennsylvania Hockey League 1902
Pittsburgh Athletic Club 1899–1904, 1907–1909 ice hockey Duquesne Gardens Western Pennsylvania Hockey League 1899, 1900, 1901
Pittsburgh Bankers 1900–1904, 1907–1909 ice hockey Duquesne Gardens Western Pennsylvania Hockey League 1903, 1908, 1909
Pittsburgh Victorias 1902–1904 ice hockey Duquesne Gardens Western Pennsylvania Hockey League 1903
Pittsburgh Pirates (NBL) 1937-39,
basketball National Basketball League
Pittsburgh Professionals 1904–1905 ice hockey Duquesne Gardens International Professional Hockey League
Pittsburgh Lyceum 1907–1908, 1910–1920 ice hockey Duquesne Gardens, Winter Garden Western Pennsylvania Hockey League
Pittsburgh Pirates (WPHL) 1907–1908 ice hockey Duquesne Gardens Western Pennsylvania Hockey League
Pittsburgh Duquesne 1908–1909, 1916–1920 ice hockey Duquesne Gardens, Winter Garden Western Pennsylvania Hockey League
Pittsburgh Shamrocks 1935–1936 ice hockey Duquesne Gardens International Hockey League
Pittsburgh Hornets 1936–1956, 1961–1967 ice hockey Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh Civic Arena American Hockey League 1951-52, 1954–55, 1966–67
Pittsburgh Triangles 1974–1976 tennis Pittsburgh Civic Arena World TeamTennis 1975
Pittsburgh Spirit 1978–1980, 1981–1986[82] soccer Pittsburgh Civic Arena Major Soccer League
Allegheny Athletic Association 1890–1896 American football Recreation Park Independent 1891 (local champs), 1896 (undefeated season)
Pittsburgh Athletic Club 1891–1898 American football East Liberty Park Independent 1891 (undefeated season)
Duquesne Country and Athletic Club 1895–1900 American football Exposition Park Independent 1898, 1899
Homestead Library & Athletic Club 1900–1901 American football Carnegie Library of Homestead Independent 1900, 1901
Pittsburgh Stars 1902 American football Recreation Park National Football League (1902) 1902
Pitcairn Quakers 1904–1920 American football Broadway Stadium Independent
Pittsburgh Lyceum 1906–1910 American football Recreation Park Independent
Pittsburgh Americans 1936–1937 American football Forbes Field American Football League II
Pittsburgh Gladiators 1987–1990 American football Pittsburgh Civic Arena Arena Football League
Pittsburgh Maulers 1984 American football Three Rivers Stadium United States Football League
Pittsburgh Phantoms 1967 soccer Forbes Field United Soccer Association
Pittsburgh Phantoms 1994 roller hockey Pittsburgh Civic Arena Roller Hockey International
Pittsburgh Phantoms 2009–10 basketball Carnegie Library of Homestead American Basketball Association
Pittsburgh Xplosion 2005–2008 basketball Pittsburgh Civic Arena / Peterson Events Center Continental Basketball Association
Pittsburgh Monticello/Loendi 1903–192? basketball ?? Black Fives League 1912, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923
Steel City Derby Demons 2006 roller derby Romp'n Roll Roller Skating Rink Women's Flat Track Derby Association
Pittsburgh Bulls 1990–1993 indoor lacrosse Pittsburgh Civic Arena Major Indoor Lacrosse League
Pittsburgh Stingers 1994–1995 indoor soccer Pittsburgh Civic Arena Continental Indoor Soccer League
Pittsburgh CrosseFire 2000 indoor lacrosse Pittsburgh Civic Arena National Lacrosse League
Pittsburgh South Side 1903–1915 basketball ?? Western Pennsylvania Basketball League/
Central Basketball League
1904, 1907, 1913
Pittsburgh Forge 2001–2004 hockey Island Sports Center North American Hockey League 2003

*The championships listed for the teams are the highest possible achievement in their respective leagues for each season. For baseball seasons prior to the advent of the World Series in 1903 and the Negro League World Series in 1942, National League Championships and Negro National League Championships are listed.

Professional arenas


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  • Finoli, David; Bill Ranier (2003). The Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia.  
  • O'Brien, Jim (2001). The Chief: Art Rooney and his Pittsburgh Steelers.  
  • O'Brien, Jim (1994). Penguin Profiles. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: James P. O'Brien - Publishing.  
  • O'Brien, Jim (1998). We Had 'Em All the Way: Bob Prince and his Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: James P. O'Brien - Publishing.  
  • O'Brien, Jim (2008). Pittsburgh Proud. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: James P. O'Brien - Publishing.  

Further reading

  • McCollister, John (2002). Bucs: The Story of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  
  • McCollister, John (2008). The good, the bad, and the ugly Pittsburgh Pirates: heart-pounding, jaw-dropping, and gut-wrenching moments from Pittsburgh Pirates history.  
  • Mendelson, Abby (2005). The Pittsburgh Steelers: The Official Team History, Updated Edition.  
  • Sciullo Jr., Sam (2005). Pitt: 100 Years of Pitt Basketball.  
  • Sciullo Jr., Sam (1994). Greatest Moments in Pitt Football History. Athlon. 
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