By the numbers: Retired sports jerseys

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The Steelers announced Wednesday that they would retire the No. 75 jersey worn by defensive tackle “Mean” Joe Greene, becoming just the second number retired by the team. Defensive tackle Ernie Stautner (70), who played from 1950-63, has the only other retired number.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the retired numbers for the other Pittsburgh pro sports teams, as well as some selected college teams.

Mario

Penguins

66 — Center Mario Lemieux (member of Hockey Hall of Fame) (pictured)

21 — Center Michel Briere

Clemente

Pirates

1 — Manager Billy Meyer

4 — Outfielder Ralph Kiner (member of Baseball Hall of Fame)

8 — Outfielder/first baseman Willie Stargell (member of Baseball Hall of Fame)

9 — Second baseman Bill Mazeroski (member of Baseball Hall of Fame)

11 — Right fielder Paul Waner (member of Baseball Hall of Fame)

20 — Third baseman Pie Traynor (member of Baseball Hall of Fame)

21 — Right fielder Roberto Clemente (member of Baseball Hall of Fame) (pictured)

33 — Shortstop Honus Wagner (member of Baseball Hall of Fame)

40 — Manager Danny Murtaugh

42 — Dodgers second baseman Jackie Robinson (MLB retired his number in 1997)

Marino Dan 1

Pitt football team

1 — Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald

13 — Quarterback Dan Marino (Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame) (pictured)

33 — Running back Tony Dorsett (Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame)

42 — Halfback/fullback Marshall Goldberg

65 — Linebacker Joe Schmidt (Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame)

73 — Offensive lineman Mark May

79 — Offensive lineman Bill Fralic

89 — Tight end Mike Ditka (Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame)

99 — Defensive lineman Hugh Green

Bob Hope Special

Penn State football team

22 — Running back John Cappelletti

Huff-Sam-2

West Virginia football team

21 — Fullback Ira Errett Rodgers

75 — Linebacker Sam Huff (Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame) (pictured)

CAP-KNIGHT-01

Pitt basketball team

10 — Guard Don Hennon

20 — Point guard Brandin Knight (pictured)

32 — Forward Charles Smith

34 — Guard/forward Billy Knight

pg2_a_westj_576

West Virginia basketball team

33 — Guard Rod Hundley

44 — Guard Jerry West (Member of Basketball Hall of Fame) (pictured)

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7 ways to have international experiences in Pittsburgh

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It might be summertime, but few of us actually get the chance to pack up and travel the world. Fortunately, you don’t have to leave Pittsburgh to experience international cultures. Here are some activities that will make you forget — if only for a couple of hours — that you haven’t left the country.

Catch a Bollywood picture at AMC Loews
Nothing beats whiling away the hours in an air-conditioned movie theater on a hot summer day. In addition to the usual movie picks, AMC Loews at the Waterfront also screens the latest Bollywood films. Bollywood movies are highly popular Hindi language films (subtitles are included). Lose yourself in a dramatic tale of love, friendship and/or heartbreak that takes place in some colorful locale of India, the U.K. or sometimes even the U.S. If you love musicals, then you’ll probably love the random scenes of song and dance that Bollywood films are known for.

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Let your hair down at Sphinx Café
Stepping into Sphinx Café from the streets of South Oakland is an experience in itself. Sphinx Café is a large Egyptian style hookah bar complete with colorful Egyptian decor, comfy cushions and a muted television screening Egyptian soaps. Music of various genres plays in the background, but even that can’t break the peaceful atmosphere this hookah bar has managed to create. There is a full menu of shisha flavors, and customers can also order Middle Eastern food, fruit juices or teas. Go with a good group of friends because Hookah is best enjoyed with good company and conversation — but don’t make it a regular habit because according to the CDC, hookah isn’t a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes.

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Browse through the goodies at Kawaii Gifts
Buried within the clothing retailers and restaurants on Walnut Street is this small gem of a shop. Kawaii means cute in Japanese, and as the name suggests, Kawaii Gifts is stocked to the brim with cute items — most of which are imported from Japan where Kawaii culture is huge. The store sells a variety of goods from stationary to miniatures. They also feature brands and characters that are popular in Japan such as Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma and Sentimental Circus.

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Exercise your pipes at Kbox
If shopping isn’t really your thing, but you still want to get a taste of Japan and other Asian countries, Kbox Karaoke House has you covered. Kbox is an Asian Style Karaoke bar that was founded by a group of Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh students and alumnus. Karaoke originated in Japan, and is still a highly popular pastime in Asian countries. Don’t worry about getting stage fright, because at K-box, it’s just you and your friends in your own private room. Make it an intimate gathering in a mini room with up to four people or go wild with up to 16 in a VIP room. With a database containing over 100,000 tunes, you can choose from popular English, Chinese, Japanese or Korean songs.

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Eat an authentic French meal at Paris 66
If you’re wondering what’s for dinner, Paris 66 is ready to fill your belly with an appetizing French meal. Upon entering this cozy French bistro, you might think you’ve stumbled into Paris. The owners and chefs are French, the meals are French, the menu items are in French and the postcards imbedded in the tabletops are of Paris. Forget the hamburgers; feast on a croque monsieur or a filet Mignon instead! There is also an extensive wine and cocktail menu, and you can finish off your meal with a tasty dessert or coffee.

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Go salsa dancing at Los Sabrosos
Skip the club this Saturday and go Salsa Dancing at Los Sabroso dance studio. For $7, you can salsa from 9:30 p.m. way into the early morning. The DJ switches up the music pretty often, so you can practice all of your Latin dance moves from merengue to bachata. No partner necessary, as you can find one when you get there. There is salsa somewhere in Pittsburgh every day of the week. If you can’t make it to Los Sabrosos, check out Salsa Pittsburgh for more times and venues. Hint: Cabaret at Theater Square has salsa dancing on Fridays (pictured below).

Salsa at the Cabaret at Theater Square, Downtown, on Friday nights.

Take up a new hobby with Timbeleza
Timbeleza is a percussion band that plays a form of Brazilian music called batucada. Batucada can accompany samba dancers or capoeira, a Brazilian martial art. Timbeleza holds weekly practices, and on certain summer days, you can hear the sounds of their percussive instruments cranking out cool beats at Flagstaff Hill in Oakland. Timbeleza also holds performances around the city and at events where they sometimes collaborate with samba dancers, break dancers or capoeiristas. For those interested in joining Timbeleza, email Kevin Seklecki or Siamak Malek at sambapittsburgh@gmail.com. Musical experience is preferred, but an instrument will be provided. If you’re not musically inclined, but would still like to experience batucada, Timbeleza will be playing at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater on Aug. 2.

timbeleza

Photo Credits: Stephanie Strasburg, Kitoko Chargois, Jasmine Goldband, Timbeleza

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Hitting the brakes for Pittsburgh’s worst traffic nightmares

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For Pittsburgh newcomers, it’s the subtle beauty of the city’s geography that often makes the first impression. Rolling hills, a trio of rivers, more green space than the average American urban sprawl — all that good stuff.
Of course, those assets also help create another striking Steel City specialty: an infrastructure and road system that even the most veteran Parkway Name-Your-Direction drivers find vexing.
Getting around Pittsburgh isn’t easy. Those 446 bridges? Handy, as long as they’re open. McArdle Roadway? A nifty cruise to the top of Mt. Washington, barring a landslide. Route 28? OK, it’s tough to think of anything nice to say about PennDOT’s never-ending project.
Managing the city’s many navigation nightmares comes down to luck a lot of the time. A simple fender bender or a broken-down car en route to a tunnel can slow anyone thinking about ditching work early to beat the traffic.
These routes are well-known to natives, but for those new to the roads in Western Pa., here’s a look at some of Pittsburgh biggest offenders when it comes to traffic tie-ups.

 

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THE BRIDGE AND TUNNEL CROWD
What better place to start this tour of infamous logjams than the “entrance” of the city?
Listen to morning radio shows or steer a regular commuter into a chat about the roads and inevitably you’ll hear a version of the following: “Why do people slow down before tunnels!”
Funny thing about the Fort Pitt Tunnel, it’s not the drive through the chute that’s the trouble. It’s getting there.
The trek down Green Tree Hill is like a lesson in how gravity isn’t supposed to work. If you find yourself traveling the terminus of the Parkway West overnight, you might find yourself reaching a Millennium Falcon-level of warp speed when you break through the entrance to the tunnel. During rush hour? You may as well pull out a book or practice your best road rage gesture at the “Time to tunnel” sign.
If you’re heading outbound through the tunnel, it’s a different monster but just as frustrating.
Whether you’re coming from the opposing Fort Duquesne Bridge or Downtown, getting on the tunnel’s eponymous bridge is as much of a creep as the hill on the other side.
The outbound end is a slog for good reason, with a set of merges and drivers coming from the Fort Duquesne Bridge making lane changes to reach the tunnel. The trudge from Green Tree, though, is one of the mysteries of Pittsburgh. Once you reach the other side and that beautiful view of Downtown and the rivers, the first concern to stop gawking and rev up to avoid all of those speeding vehicles on the top deck of the bridge.
Wait, where did those come from?

 

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ALL SQUIRRELLY
Say you’ve made it down Green Tree Hill, through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, are darting across the bridge under a beautiful late afternoon sun, and you make the right toward the Parkway East and freedom.
Check those brakes.
A bottleneck just as frustrating as its tunnel twin is coming up fast: the Squirrel Hill Tunnel, gateway to Pittsburgh’s heavily populated eastern suburbs.
If you’re a Downtown commuter from Plum, Monroeville or Westmoreland County, you probably know this one very well. Like the Green Tree Hill journey, there aren’t many troublesome merges — the exits right before the tunnel can be a pain, however, especially if you’re getting on the Parkway. No, this one again seems to come down to a case of oh-my-goodness-it’s-a-tunnel-no-way-I-can-hit-this-at-normal-speed disease.
Of course, it doesn’t help that the Parkway East and the tunnel itself have been the subject of several PennDOT projects in recent years. Even weekends can be rough on this stretch if a lane is closed down.
The road also seems to be a magnet for crashes, which can push traffic into a standstill all the way to the shadow the bluff.

 

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PITTSBURGH’S WORST INTERSECTION?
Depending on where you live, there are plenty of different answers to the above question. The answer we’ll submit is one that, hopefully, can be scratched off the list soon enough.
Traffic on major artery Route 51 runs fairly smoothly from the West End Bridge — another gas-waster, if it’s after a big North Shore event — until the junction with Route 88, or Library Road.
Some of Pittsburgh’s oldest suburbs (read: oldest roads) are in the South Hills, and the windy, claustrophobic routes are at their worst at this intersection. Visit Google’s Streetview for an idea of the traffic buildups at this point — and specifically, the jungle of traffic lights covering. Along with than the Library Road linkup, two more roads meet here.
There’s hope, though.
A $19 million project is beginning that eliminate left turns from 51 to 88, replaced by a new “jug handle” for that  The extensive initiative is also widening 51 and nearby Provost Road and replacing a handful of structurally deficient bridges at the interchange.
It’s a lot to ask for, but by the end of the construction — which has already begun, with more intrusive phases coming soon — it should be a quicker ride to Baldwin, Whitehall, South Park and lands beyond.

 

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THE DOOZY
There’s a reason you see “I hate Route 28″ bumper stickers. And with the ubiquitous bumper-to-bumper rush-hour traffic, you can probably get an up-close view if you haven’t seen one.
But you might be seeing less of them.
Work is ongoing on a project to revamp the roadway along the north bank Allegheny River. When it’s complete, it’ll be a wider road and the stoplights will be a thing of past until you reach the route’s expressway terminus outside of Kittanning.
Of course, there’s no telling until it’s complete just how successful the project will be at alleviating some of the region’s worst traffic. After all, much of the road’s afternoon trouble comes right at the start. The on-ramp from East Ohio Street near the Heinz plant regularly backs up and slows the drivers coming from the North Shore.
Anything, however, is an improvement on the road’s former layout, and the changes already in place show promise.
Maybe there’s light at the end of this tunnel.

 

 

 

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13 ‘most Pittsburgh’ Iron City commercials

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If you say Pittsburgh beer, the first thing to pop into most people’s minds is going to be Iron City. I’m sure these commercials (and many others) played a key role in the connection. Through the years, some commercials have captured the city better than others.

13. Pour on the Iron: Backyard football

Can easily say I haven’t seen any adults playing backyard football … ever.

12. Show them where you live.

Ah, appealing to the homer in all of us.

11. Gimme the night. Gimme an IC Light

Clear, refreshing and bright. The choice is always right.

10. Pour on the Iron: Wedding

This looks like more fun than most weddings I’ve attended.

9. Pour on the Iron: Keg tapper

Al Luccioni demonstrates the art of tapping a keg

8. Dedicated to the preservation of the wild life

Not sure if any of this ever happened in Pittsburgh, though.

7. Pour on the Iron

Sparkling, robust flavor that does your thirst a favor.

6. Workin’ on a cold Iron

Pure 1990s cheese.

5. Hey, gimme an IC Light

Pure 1980s cheese. Who hasn’t had this happen on a city bus?

4. Pump an Iron

A rollicking  country song with plenty of Steelers imagery.

3. Pour it on, Slugger

Bill Mazeroski pitching the local brew.

2. You can’t keep an Iron man down

A classic tune.

1. Tell ‘Em Ray

An absolute gem, and the inspiration for this list. Can’t quantify how many times this ran during Penguins telecasts.

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13 defining moments in the history of the Pirates Baseball Club

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The Pirates, formerly the Alleghenys, have represented Pittsburgh since 1882, making them one of the oldest baseball organizations in history. According to MLB.com, the Bucs are only younger than the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves. The Cincinnati Reds started playing the same year as the Pirates. In all those years, the Pirates have had their share of defining moments, whether it be a single game or a World Series or an incident in a particular contest. We’re not talking long losing streaks or record-breaking strikeout totals that went for a season.

There’s plenty of debate to be had with a list like this, as it could be much longer or a few defining moments shorter. We felt like 13 was the perfect number because, well, the Pirates snapped their string of losing seasons in 2013. Are there any moments I forgot about?

 

 

— A memorable playoff victory (Oct. 1 2013, Wild Card victory over the Reds) Reds ace Johnny Cueto had previously owned the Pirates, shutting them down on most occasions, but he faced an intimidating 10th man at PNC Park in a National League Wild Card playoff game. The one-game series had the winner moving on to play the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series. The Pirates, and a suddenly reborn fan base, got the best of Cueto and the Reds to advance. The 2013 season was special, but this victory was the highlight. On a national stage, PNC Park was electric, and it showed that Pittsburgh could be a baseball town again. The Bucs went on to lose to the Cards in the NLDS, but the fever was back in the ‘Burgh.

 

 

— A trippy accomplishment (Dock Ellis’ June 12, 1970, no-hitter against the Padres) It’s really one of the strangest stories in major-league history. The Pirates were in San Diego to face the Padres, and pitcher Dock Ellis forgot he was supposed to pitch. With that, he decided to take LSD on this day. It didn’t seem to matter, as Ellis went out and tossed a no-hitter. The starting pitcher, who got plenty of help from his fielders in the feat, struck out six and walked eight. To this day — whether good or bad — it’s one MLB feat that will never be forgotten. A remarkable animated video (above), put together by James Blagden, details the whole affair. The season picked up from there, as Ellis and the Pirates went on to with the World Series.

 

 

— Not that Babe (Pirates rookie overshadows Cobb-Wagner in 1909 World Series) The 1909 World Series — won by the Pirates in seven games — was billed as the battle between the Pirates’ Honus Wagner and the Tigers’ Ty Cobb, both absolute legends of the game. However, it was a rookie pitcher who delivered the goods for the Bucs in winning their first championship in the modern Major League Baseball era. Manager Fred Clarke took a chance on Babe Adams, and he pitched the Pirates to victories in Games 1, 5 and 7. In doing so, he set a record for victories in the World Series by a rookie. Adams made his last MLB appearance with the Bucs in 1926, compiling a 194-140 record in the bigs.

 

 

— Oh, so close (Harvey Haddix tosses 12 inning of perfect baseball in 1959 before losing to the Braves) Without any doubt, It would’ve been the greatest perfect game in major-league history. “Would’ve been” being the key words. Haddix, nicknamed the Kitten, took a perfect game into the 13th inning against Milwaukee on May 26, 1959, and lost it in the bottom of the inning after a fielding error by Don Hoak. Three batters later, the Braves’ Joe Adcock connected on a home run that put the no-hit bid and the game to rest. All these years later, some folks still consider Haddix’s near-perfect outing as the greatest pitching performance in MLB history. Even more so when it was revealed years later that the Braves had been stealing signs throughout the game.

 

 

— Beating back a giant (Pirates beat Walter Johnson and the Senators in Game 7 to win 1925 World Series) Entering Game 7 of the 1925 World Series, the Pirates faced one of the best pitchers in MLB history in Walter Johnson. The Hall of Famer had held the Bucs to one run in Games 1 and 4, but the guys from Pittsburgh had the momentum going into the deciding contest against the defending champion Washington Senators. The Pirates climbed out of a 3-1 hole to force a Game 7. In the finale — a game remembered for terrible weather conditions — the Pirates took advantage of two Roger Peckinpaugh errors at shortstop to become the first team in World Series history to come back from a 3-1 deficit.

 

 

— A team effort (Pirates pitchers Cordova and Rincon combine for no-hitter vs. Astros in 1997) In a year that saw the Pirates come close to snapping a string of losing seasons, the greatest highlight came on July 12 in front of a sold-out Three Rivers Stadium. Cordova put together nine no-hit innings, before surrendering the game over to Rincon, who masterfully handled the 10th. A walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th by Mark Smith won it for the Bucs. It was history on the North Shore, as Cordova and Rincon put together the only combined, extra-inning no-hitter in modern major-league history. It’s also the last no-hitter recorded by the Pirates. Sadly, things didn’t get much better after that.

 

 

— Pops will lead them (Stargell hits .400 to lead Pirates to 1979 World Series victory) Age ain’t nothing but a number, and that was true for Pirates slugger Willie Stargell in the 1979 World Series against the Orioles. Boosted by their veteran power hitter and a certain theme song from Sister Sledge, the Pirates roared back to knock off the Orioles in seven games. Stargell was amazing in the series, batting .400 with a record seven extra-base hits and 25 total bases. His towering home run off of Scott McGregor in the sixth inning of Game 7 propelled the “We Are Family” Bucs to another championship.

 

 

— It’s finally over (Pirates clinch first winning season since 1992 with Sept. 9, 2013, win over Rangers) With a record of 79-83 in 2012, the lowly Pirates became the first team in major-league history, not to mention in all of professional sports, to have 20 consecutive losing seasons. On Sept. 3, in Milwaukee, the team ended the streak. A few days later, in Texas, the Pirates, behind a solid performance from rookie pitcher Gerrit Cole, clinched their first-winning season since 1992. It was a most-welcome moment for Pittsburghers who so wanted a major-league team that could compete on the highest levels.

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— Breaking down barriers (Pirates start first all-minority lineup in MLB history on Sept. 1, 1971) It’s one of the lesser known facts about the Pirates, but on Sept. 1, 1971, with manager Danny Murtaugh at the helm, the team started the first all-minority lineup in major-league history. The lineup (as seen above) was led by an outfield that included Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente. Dock Ellis took the mound for the Bucs. Sure, the Pirates also played the first World Series night game at Three Rivers Stadium that same season, but the all-minority lineup was much more important to the sport.

 

 

— It takes two (Clemente and Blass lead Pirates to 1971 World Series victory) The Pirates won their fourth World Series title — knocking off the Orioles in seven — behind the strong performances of pitcher Steve Blass and right fielder Roberto Clemente. Blass, a 15-game winner during the season, hung tough in the series, winning Games 3 and 7 with complete performances. Then, there was Clemente, the MVP of the World Series. The right fielder was unstoppable at the plate, batting .414 for the seven-game series, He also notched a tremendous home run in Game 7 to lift the Pirates to an ultimate victory.

 

 

— Safe at home (Braves slide past Pirates in 1992 NLCS to go to World Series) It’s arguably the worst moment in the history of the Pirates organization. The World Series was on the line in 1992, and the Pirates had a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7. With the bases loaded and the Braves at bat, Francisco Cabrera smacked a two-run single that scored David Justice and Sid Bream. It sent Atlanta to the World Series and the Pirates back to Pittsburgh. It was the last, best shot for that Pirates team. The organization followed that dramatic loss with 20 years of losing baseball.

 

 

— A lasting image (Roberto Clemente gets his 3,000th hit on Sept. 30, 1972) Roberto Clemente will be remembered for a lot of things, whether it be his prowess at the plate, his rocket throws from right or his tremendous ability to help people. In all of those memories, and so many more, the lasting image of arguably the greatest Pirates player of all time is his 3,000th hit on Sept. 30, 1972 against Jon Matlack of the New York Mets. It would be the last season Clemente played, as he was killed in a plane crash on Dec. 31 in the process of delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

 

 

— Maz’s smash (Bill Mazeroski’s Game 7 walk-off homer in the 1961 World Series) When most baseball fans talk about the defining moment in Pirates history, they talk about Bill Mazeroski’s home run in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series against the Bronx Bombers. The Hall of Fame second baseman’s shot won the World Series for the Pirates against a Yankees lineup that included names like Mantle, Maris, Berra and Ford. It came on Oct. 13 at Forbes Field, giving the Pirates their first World Series championship since 1925. It’ll probably never be topped in the long history of the Pirates.

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