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

This week in Pittsburgh Sports History

click to enlarge Connie Hawkins as a Pittsburgh Piper, 1968
Connie Hawkins as a Pittsburgh Piper, 1968

Feb. 1, 2009

With 16 seconds remaining in the first half of Super Bowl XLIII between the Steelers and Cardinals, 31-year-old linebacker James Harrison picks off a red-zone pass from Kurt Warner and returns it for a staggering 100-yard touchdown. Harrison lies down in the endzone and catches his breath for what seems like all of half-time (understandably). The Steelers go on to win 27-23, nabbing one for the (other) thumb thanks to a stunning late touchdown catch from Santonio Holmes. 

Feb. 2, 1963

While maybe not as infamous as the 1982 Stanford/Cal early celebration (“the band is on the field!”), this one is pretty rough, too. In the 98th iteration of the Backyard Brawl, Pitt guard Dave Roman nails a last-second shot for a “final score” of 69-68. But as the celebration begins, officials announce that another Pitt player had called a timeout with one second remaining, nullifying the shot. The final attempt is a miss, leading to a 68-67 loss. 

Feb. 2, 1967

Pittsburgh’s short-lived professional basketball squad is born in the inaugural year of the American Basketball Association. The Pittsburgh Pipers went on to win the first-ever ABA Championship, but from there everything got worse. The Pipers franchise moved to Minnesota the next year, then returned to Pittsburgh, changed its name to the Condors, and finally lost franchise status in 1972. 

Feb. 5, 1988

Legendary baseball scout Howie Haak resigns from the Pirates organization after butting heads with then-GM Syd Thrift. It’s not a particularly spicy story, but Howie Haak and Syd Thrift are some killer old-school baseball names. 

Feb. 6, 2000

In his final season with the Penguins, right-wing Jaromir Jagr nets more than a million fan votes for his spot on the NHL All-Star Team. It’s the most votes any player had received at that time. 

Feb. 6, 2010

Then-mayor of Pittsburgh Luke Ravenstahl is stranded at Seven Springs while attempting to take in a little skiing during the celebration of his 30th birthday, while the city is hit with more than 20 inches of snow. It’s still the fourth biggest snowstorm in Pittsburgh history dating back to 1871.

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