This week in Pittsburgh Sports History | Sports News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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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 Jay Buhner
  • Jay Buhner

Dec. 16, 1972

Johnny Majors is hired to coach the Pitt Panthers football team. Four years later, Majors would lead Pitt to a 12-0 season and a national championship.

Dec. 16, 2000

After being the home of the Steelers for 30 years, Three Rivers Stadium is closed down with a 24-3 Pittsburgh win over Washington. Running back Richard Huntley scores the final touchdown, on a 30-yard run.

Dec. 17, 1896

The Schenley Park Casino, the city’s first hockey arena, is destroyed by fire.

Dec. 18, 2004

Jerome Bettis rushes for 140 yards and a touchdown as the Pittsburgh Steelers notch the franchise’s 500th victory: a 33-30 win over the New York Giants at the Meadowlands.

Dec. 19, 1941

Pittsburgh’s Sammy “The Clutch” Angott becomes the undisputed world lightweight champion when he defeats Lew “The Sweetwater Swatter” Jenkins at Madison Square Garden. The website Boxingrec.com lists Angott as statistically the sixth greatest lightweight of all time. He compiled a pro record of 94-29.

Dec. 19, 1994

Youngstown, Ohio, billionaire Edward J. DeBartolo dies of pneumonia. DeBartolo, once owner of one of the biggest construction companies in the country, was more well known for his ownership of several sports franchises, including the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Pittsburgh Maulers of the famed USFL.

Dec. 20, 1984

The Pirates start a chain of events that will lead to one of the greatest moments on the TV show Seinfeld. The Pirates trade first-year minor-leaguer Jay Buhner (along with Dale Berra) to the New York Yankees for Tim Foli. Buhner went to the majors in 1987 and was unremarkable for the Yankees. New York traded him to Seattle in 1988, and by 1991 he was developing into a superstar who would become an All-Star and a three-time MVP finalist. In 1996, on an episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza’s father, Frank (played by Jerry Stiller), meets and then screams at Yankees owner George Steinbrenner: “What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?!? He had 30 home runs, over 100 RBIs last year, he’s got a rocket for an arm, you don’t know what the hell you're doin’!” And it all started in Pittsburgh.


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