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Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum

“It’ll Take an Army” Franco’s Italian Army Fifty Years Later

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Fred Lenn: The Battling Boxer

  Fred Lenn fought in two arenas—as a Marine serving during World War II and Korea, and in the ring as a champion amateur and professional boxer. The second of nine children born to Polish immigrant parents in 1914, Lenn grew up on Pittsburgh’s South Side. Christened Walter Frederick Lenkowski at St. Stanislaus Polish Catholic…

Behind the Portrait: Bill Hartack’s Derby Disappointment of 1958

  William Hartack, by James Ormsbee Chapin, oil on canvas, 1958. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Gift of TIME magazine, © James Cox Gallery at Woodstock for the James Chapin Estate. One of the most striking portraits on display in the History Center’s current exhibition, Smithsonian’s Portraits of Pittsburgh: Works from the…

Negro League Centennial: Negro League Baseball in Pittsburgh

  The Homestead Grays baseball uniform of second baseman Clarence Bruce is on display in the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. Bruce wore number 46 for the Grays for the 1947 and 1948 seasons. A member of the 1948 Negro League championship team, Bruce was known for his superior defensive skills. Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pirates.…

Vintage Base Ball Q&A with Adam Johnson

  “Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd…” Each summer, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village in scenic Avella, Pa., hosts an exciting afternoon of vintage “base ball” – originally written as two words – with talented teams from throughout the region. Spectators can bring their own chairs and a picnic…

Remembering Johnny Majors

  PITT National Championship, by Merv Corning, watercolor, 1996. Portraits of Coach Johnny Majors and Heisman Trophy winner and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett center this piece created for the 20th anniversary of the 1976 championship season. Gift of Arthur J. Rooney, Jr. The History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum were saddened…

Immortalizing Forbes Field: MGM Drafts Pittsburgh for Big Film

  Ever wish you could see one last baseball game at Pittsburgh’s historic Forbes Field? Well, the 1951 feature film “Angels in the Outfield” offers the next best option. The lighthearted movie, filmed on-location in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, tells the story of a fictitious manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates who changes his blasphemous…

Pysanky on Ice

  Traditionally, Ukrainians find time in the week before Easter to create highly decorated eggs or pysanky that celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Pysanky eggs made by Helen Timo on display in the Special Collections gallery. Gift of Timo Family. Pysanky’s origins date back to a time before Christianity when the egg, a symbol of…

The James A. Dorsey Story

  For many people, time off from work or school is an opportunity to engage in physical activity, whether it’s hunting and fishing, enjoying swings on a playground, or a pick-up game with friends. Pittsburgher James A. Dorsey had a passion for sports and recreational activities as well, and he devoted his life to sharing…

The Olympics on Ice: Herb Drury

U.S. vs. Belgium on outdoor rink, Chamonix, France, Jan. 28, 1924. Courtesy of Frederick R. Favo. Every four years, the Winter Olympic Games recall the importance of Pittsburgher Herb Drury in the story of ice hockey and the Olympics. Born in Midland, Ontario, Canada in 1895, Drury came to Pittsburgh in 1916 to play for…

A Pivotal Moment – December 23, 1972: The Immaculate Reception

  Museum life-like figure of Franco Harris in front of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. There are certain moments in sports that define a team, an era, or an individual. The Immaculate Reception is one of those defining moments – separating the same old Steelers from the Super Bowl Steelers. In the minds of many…