This week in Pittsburgh Sports History | Sports News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

This week in Pittsburgh Sports History

A look back at events that you’ve either forgotten about or never heard of in the first place

click to enlarge “Two-Ton” Tony Galento
“Two-Ton” Tony Galento

Dec. 7, 2006

Pittsburgh Steelers running back “Fast” Willie Parker sets the team record for most rushing yards in a single game when he totals 223 yards against Cleveland.

Dec. 8, 1952

In the 1930s, “Two-Ton” Tony Galento was a heavyweight boxer. He was the first man ever to knock down Joe Louis. By 1952, Galento was working as a professional wrestler, and on Dec. 7 had participated in a match at Speney’s Palisades, in McKeesport. The next day, state troopers were called to a turnpike gas station in Irwin, Pa. Galento and his manager, Bill Johnson, had gotten into a dispute over Galento’s pay from the night before. Galento won the argument when he knocked out Johnson’s front teeth. “Two-Ton” Tony was arrested, but the charges were dropped when Galento offered to pay $250 to get Johnson’s mug fixed.

Dec. 8, 2000

Media reports indicate that NHL legend Mario Lemieux has ended his three-year retirement and rejoined the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Dec. 9, 1940

Art Rooney sells the Pittsburgh Pirates (not yet Steelers) to Alex Thompson of Boston. Rooney then buys a majority stake in the Philadelphia Eagles. Thompson and Rooney would swap cities, however, before the start of the 1941 season.

Dec. 10, 1973

Pittsburgh’s Bruno Sammartino wins his second WWWF World Title by defeating Stan Stasiak.

Dec. 11, 2005

Sure, it was just one play in a career of great plays, but the day Steelers star Jerome Bettis ran through legendary Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher on the way to a touchdown is one worth remembering. That game also marked Bettis’ last career 100-yard rushing performance. Two months later, the Steelers won their fifth Super Bowl; “The Bus” retired shortly after.

Dec. 13, 1972

Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope runs into crooner/actor/icon Frank Sinatra at a restaurant in Palm Springs, Calif. and asks him to join Franco’s Italian Army, a fan club for rookie Franco Harris. Sinatra agrees, shows up the next day at practice, and is inducted into the group as a one-star general.

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