Memorable NFL draft busts of the Steelers


Despite the success of the Penguins and the sort-of resurgence of the Pirates, the Steelers are still at the top of the mountain when it comes to Pittsburgh sports teams. Arguments can be made, but the Steelers still hold the key to the city. With the NFL draft upon us, hope springs eternal. Can the Steelers nail down a pick that will help out immediately? Can they snag a sleeper in the later rounds? Will they reach for a project that doesn’t pan out? Despite the success the Steelers have had, they’ve certainly had their share of busts in the draft. Here are some of the bigger ones:


10. Ziggy Hood (2009, No. 32, Missouri) The defensive lineman’s NFL career isn’t over yet, but he never made the impact the Steelers were looking for up front. Hood had trouble cracking the starting lineup and didn’t do much in his time in Pittsburgh. Maybe that’s why the Steelers let him walk. He signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars before the 2014 season.

Steelers Dolphins 21

9. Ricardo Colclough (2004, No. 38, Tusculum) The Steelers moved up to grab this unknown cornerback in the second round, and it wasn’t a wise move. Colclough struggled with the Steelers — on special teams and defense — before being bounced in 2007. Colclough’s been in the CFL since he was waived by the Chiefs in 2009.


8. Will Blackwell (1997, No. 53, San Diego State) The wide receiver looked to be a can’t-miss prospect after enjoying a fantastic career in college, but he failed to make his mark with the Steelers. Blackwell’s highest output came in 1998, when he caught 32 passes. It was all downhill from there, and he was out of the NFL by 2001. He now coaches high school football in Oakland, Calif.


7. Scott Shields (1999, No. 59, Weber State) Standing around 6-foot-4 with good speed, Shields was expected to bring some physicality to the defensive backfield. However, Shields never seemed to be a great tackler. His rookie season was OK, but his time was short with the Steelers. The safety lasted only two seasons with the team and bounced around a bit after that.

Tom Worley

6. Tim Worley (1989, No. 7, Georgia) A stud running back out of Georgia, Worley was expected to carry the load at running back for the Steelers for a long time. After amassing an impressive 770 yards in his rookie season, Worley floundered. The running back had problems holding onto the football and with substance abuse. The Steelers dealt him to the Bears for a fifth-round pick in 1993. More off-the-field issues plagued Worley with the Bears, and he was out of the league by 1994.


5. Limas Sweed (2008, No. 53, Texas) A big target out of Texas, Sweed had all the skills to become a successful NFL wide receiver. Unfortunately, he had problems catching the ball. The drops plagued Sweed throughout his short career with the team. He was released in 2011 and failed to make another NFL roster. He’s presently trying to make his way in the CFL, but that’s not going too well.


4. Alonzo Jackson (2003, No. 59, Florida State) With veteran Jason Gildon getting older, Jackson was selected by the Steelers as a possible replacement. The team looked to transition Jackson from defensive end — where he starred with the Seminoles — but it never worked out. Jackson was released before the 2005 season and had short stints with the Eagles and Giants.


3. Troy Edwards (1999, No. 13, Louisiana Tech) An undersized receiver, Edwards scored a lot of accolades in college before landing with the Steelers. He even had a productive rookie season with the team, recording 61 catches and performing well as a returner. After that, Edwards sank, and he was traded to the Rams in 2002. He played a few more years in the NFL before ending up in the Arena League.


2. Jamain Stephens (1996, No. 29, North Carolina A&T) Arguably the greatest reach the Steelers ever made in the first round, the team drafted the 6-foot-6 offensive tackle as a project. Stephens, though, didn’t last long due to a poor work ethic and a lack of development. He was quickly released by the Steelers in 1999 after coming into training camp out of shape. He landed with the Bengals soon after, and was released in 2002.

Huey Richardson

1. (tie) Huey Richardson (1991, No. 15, Florida) and Darryl Sims (1985, No. 20, Wisconsin) Richardson should be considered the Steelers’ biggest bust ever, but Sims is a close second. Richardson was an All-American defensive end for the Gators, and the Steelers tried to turn him into a linebacker. The plan didn’t work, and Richardson was out the door. He was dealt to the Redskins the following year for a late draft pick. He tried to catch on with the Redskins, Jets and Dolphins, but was out of the league by 1993. Sims was picked by the Steelers as a defensive tackle, and lasted a little bit longer than Richardson. He played two seasons for the Steelers, but never made an impact. He moved on to the Browns, and was out of the league two years later.

Steelers Jeremy Staat

Dishonorable mention (in no particular order): Walter Abercrombie (1982, No. 12, Baylor), Mark Malone (1982, No. 28, Arizona State), Kendall Simmons (2002, No. 30, Auburn), Tom Ricketts (1989, No. 24, Pitt), Aaron Jones (1988, No. 18, Eastern Kentucky), Jeremy Staat (1998, No. 41, Arizona State), John Reinstra (1986, No. 9, Temple), Kraig Urbik, Gabe Rivera (1983, No. 21, Texas Tech).


20 from 20 years ago: Alternative rock albums


1994 proved to be a golden year for “alternative” music to hit the mainstream. It wasn’t easy to narrow the list down with plenty of albums that have stood the test of time.

We’ll just go in chronological order below:

Alice In Chains — “Jar of Flies” EP — Jan. 25, 1994

Other highlights: “Nutshell”“I Stay Away”

Green Day — “Dookie” — Feb. 1, 1994

Other highlights: “Longview”“Welcome to Paradise”“She”

Nine Inch Nails — “The Downward Spiral” — April 8, 1994

Other highlights: “March of the Pigs” — “Closer”

Soundgarden — “Superunknown” — April 8, 1994

Other highlights: “The Day I Tried To Live”“Black Hole Sun”“My Wave”

Various artists — “The Crow” soundtrack — March 29, 2014

Other highlights: Rage Against The Machine’s “Darkness (Of Greed)” — Violent Femmes’ “Color Me Once”

The Offspring — “Smash” — April 8, 1994

Other highlights: “Gotta Get Away”“Come Out and Play”

Hole — “Live Through This” — April 12, 1994

Other highlights: “Doll Parts”“Miss World”

Live — “Throwing Copper” — April 26, 1994

Other highlights: “White, Discussion” —  “Stage”“Lightning Crashes”

Sunny Day Real Estate — “Diary” — May 10, 1994

Other highlights: “In Circles”“Song About an Angel”

Weezer — “Weezer (The Blue Album)” — May 10, 1994

Other highlights: “Say It Ain’t So”“Undone — The Sweater Song”“In The Garage”

Beastie Boys — “Ill Communication” — May 24, 2014

Other highlights: “Sure Shot”“Root Down”

Stone Temple Pilots — “Purple” — June 7, 1994

Other highlights: “Unglued”“Interstate Love Song”“Big Empty”

Helmet — “Betty” — June 21, 1994

Other highlights: “Wilma’s Rainbow”“Speechless”“Rollo”

Kyuss — “Welcome to Sky Valley” — June 28, 1994

Other highlights: “Gardenia”“Conan Troutman”

Toadies — “Rubberneck” — Aug. 23, 1994

Other highlights: “Mister Love”“Velvet”“Backslider”

R.E.M. — “Monster” — Sept. 27, 1994

Other highlights: “Bang and Blame”“Crush With Eyeliner”

Smashing Pumpkins — “Pisces Iscariot” — Oct. 4, 1994

Other highlights: “Plume”“Hello Kitty Kat”

Nirvana — “MTV Unplugged in New York” — Nov. 1, 1994

Other highlights: “Polly” — “About A Girl” — “All Apologies”

Pearl Jam — “Vitalogy” — Dec. 4, 1994

Other highlights: “Not For You”“Immortality” —  “Better Man”

Bush — “Sixteen Stone” — Dec. 6, 1994

Other  highlights: “Everything Zen”“Little Things”


Missed the cut:

  • Ramones “Acid Eaters”
  • Meat Puppets “Too High To Die”
  • Beck “Mellow Gold”
  • Blur “Parklife”
  • Sonic Youth “Experimental Jet Set, Trash & No Star”
  • Rancid “Let’s Go”
  • NOFX “Punk in Drublic”
  • Dinosaur Jr. “Without A Sound”
  • Oasis “Definitely Maybe”
  • Bad Religion “Stranger Than Fiction”
  • Veruca Salt “American Thighs”
  • The Cranberries “No Need to Argue”
  • Korn “Korn”
  • Sublime “Robbin’ the Hood”

The best actors from Western Pennsylvania


Western Pennsylvania is known for its great collection of athletes, but there are also quite a few actors who have made it from our end of the state. With the area gaining a reputation as a hot spot for filmmaking, why not take a look at some of those who have made a successful career in Hollywood. So, here’s a look at some of the best. And, if we forgot anybody, please let us know.



10. Charles Grodin — Before taking off for the University of Miami and movie fame in Hollywood, Grodin was born and raised in Pittsburgh. Mostly known as a comedic actor, Grodin is best remembered for lead roles in “Midnight Run” and “Beethoven.” He has a Golden Globe nomination and an Emmy win to his credit. Grodin has somewhat stepped away from the silver screen, moving into political commentating and wrtiting.



9. Bill Nunn — The son of William G. Nunn Jr., the legendary editor of the Pittsburgh Courier and NFL scout, Nunn is a solid character actor who’s played a ton of roles on TV and in the movies. Perhaps, his best roles were Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s groundbreaking “Do the Right Thing” and Joseph “Robbie” Robertson in the “Spider-Man” trilogy. Other movies you’ve seen him in include “He Got Game,” “Regarding Henry,” “Sister Act,” “New Jack City” and “Runaway Jury.”



8. Sharon Stone — The Meadville native will always be linked to her role as a beautiful serial killer in “Basic Instinct,” but really, she’s got much more going than that. Her best role came in Martin Scorsese’s “Casino,” a performance that landed her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe victory. As she’s gotten older, Stone has transformed herself into quite a character actor, boosting films like “Alpha Dog,” “Bobby,” “Lovelace” and “Broken Flowers.”



7. Jeff Goldblum — Born and raised in West Homestead, Goldblum moved to NYC at the age of 17 to become an actor. It was a good move, as Goldblum has been a major player in some of the biggest movies ever made. He’s played key roles in “The Fly,” “Jurassic Park,” “Independence Day” and “Silverado.” Goldblum has also done extensive work on Broadway and on the small screen, landing roles on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “The Simpsons” and “Will & Grace.”



6. Michael Keaton — Born in Coraopolis and raised in Robinson Township, Keaton started out as a stand-up comedian before working at WQED. That’s where he found an interest in acting. After moving to L.A., Keaton found success in movies like “Gung Ho,” “Night Shift” and “Mr. Mom.” A few years later, he would become a household name when director Tim Burton tabbed Keaton to play Batman. Keaton has also played big roles in moves like “Beetlejuice,” “The Paper,” “Jackie Brown” and a critically acclaimed turn in “Clean and Sober.”



 5. Scott Glenn — “Silverado,” “The Right Stuff,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “Urban Cowboy,” “Training Day” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” Those are just some of the pictures that Scott Glenn, a Pittsburgh native, has starred in. Glenn developed a rep as being a tough guy in the movies, but moved toward more challenging roles as his career moved forward. He continues to work, and his filmography reads like an actor who’s had an accomplished career.



4. Charles Bronson — Talk about tough! Bronson, who grew up around Johnstown and once worked as a miner, was a legendary performer on the big screen. Movies like “The Great Escape,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Battle of the Bulge,” “The Dirty Dozen” and, of course, the “Death Wish” series made him a favorite to an entire generation of movie fans. Besides his move career, Bronson also appeared in a number of popular TV shows, including “The Twilight Zone” and “Gunsmoke.”



3. Frances McDormand — One of the best character actors of all time, McDormand wasn’t born in Western Pennsylvania, but she grew up in Monessen. Her career took off with her role in “Blood Simple,” the first film of the Coen brothers. From there, she’s graced the screen in titles like “Mississippi Burning,” “Almost Famous,” “Wonder Boys,” “Raising Arizona” and “Fargo,” for which she won an Oscar. She’s been nominated for four Academy Awards. McDormand also has a Tony for her work on Broadway and four Golden Globe nominations.



2. Gene Kelly — Born in Highland Park, Kelly is always going to be recognized as a Pittsburgher. One might say he’s Pittsburgh’s favorite son. The actor, who specialized in dancing and singing, made his mark in popular films such as “An American in Paris,” “Anchors Aweigh” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” Not only was Kelly a great performer, but he also had a big hand in revolutionizing the musical, and he’s credited for many changes that were made in the genre. In 1952, Kelly received an honorary Oscar for his versatility as a performer.



1. Jimmy Stewart — Born and raised in Indiana, Stewart will always be a key part of the conversation as the best actor that ever lived. Consider some of the movies he’s starred in — “Rear Window,” “Vertigo,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Anatomy of a Murder,” etc. — and it’s a safe bet that he’s one of the best. As far as honors go, Stewart was nominated for five Academy Awards, and he took home one. He also has a Lifetime Achievement award from the Academy.


Honorable Mention — Zachary Quinto (“Star Trek” franchise, “Margin Call”), Joe Manganiello (“Magic Mike,” “True Blood”), Julie Benz (“Dexter,” “Rambo”) and Adolphe Menjou (“Paths of Glory,” “The Front Page”).


10 top postseason scorers in Penguins history


With the playoffs set to start tonight, Sidney Crosby could be climbing the ranks on the Penguins’ all-time list of postseason scoring. Here are the top 10 in team history:


1. Mario Lemieux — 107 games, 76 goals, 96 assists, 172 points


2. Jaromir Jagr — 140 games, 65 goals, 82 assists, 147 points


3. Kevin Stevens — 103 games, 46 goals, 60 assists, 106 points


4. Sidney Crosby — 82 games, 40 goals, 65 assists, 105 points


5. Ron Francis — 97 games, 32 goals, 68 assists, 100 points


6. Evgeni Malkin — 83 games, 36 goals, 61 assists, 97 points

Larry Murphy

7. Larry Murphy — 75 games, 15 goals, 57 assists, 72 points


8. Kris Letang — 80 games, 13 goals, 34 assists, 47 points


9. Martin Straka — 65 games, 19 goals, 27 assists, 46 points


10. Sergei Gonchar — 60 games, 7 goals, 34 assists, 44 points

Here’s where the rest of the current Penguins stand on the all-time team list:

11. Chris Kunitz — 64 games, 13 goals, 29 assists, 42 points

15T. Pascal Dupuis — 77 games, 14 goals, 19 assists, 33 points

31T. James Neal — 25 games, 9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points

38T. Paul Martin — 25 games, 3 goals, 11 assists, 14 points

44T. Brooks Orpik — 87 games, 1 goal, 12 assists, 13 points

57T. Craig Adams — 64 games, 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points

72T. Rob Scuderi — 49 games, 1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points

96T. Matt Niskanen — 26 games, 1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points

131T. Brandon Sutter — 15 games, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points

131T. Jussi Jokinen — 8 games, 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points

155T. Marc-Andre Fleury — 80 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points

177T. Tanner Glass — 5 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point

177T. Beau Bennett — 6 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point

177T. Chris Conner — 8 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point

177T. Joe Vitale — 10 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point

177T. Deryk Engelland — 13 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point

Making their playoff debuts for the Penguins: Olli Maatta, Lee Stempniak, Brian Gibbons

{All photos by Tribune-Review photographer Chaz Palla except Ron Francis (Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review) and Larry Murphy (Getty)}


19 of the biggest concerts at Consol Energy Center


With word of Paul McCartney’s third stop at Consol Energy Center in July, it seemed like an appropriate time to take a look back at some of the top acts to perform at the arena since its opening in 2010. In no particular order…

PAUL McCARTNEY — Aug. 18 & 19, 2010 — “Get Back”
(Note: McCartney will be back at Consol on July 7, 2014.)

PEARL JAM — Oct. 11, 2013 — “Pendulum”

THE WHO — Nov. 11, 2013 — “Baba O’Riley”

FOO FIGHTERS — Sept. 23, 2011 — “Everlong”

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN — Oct. 27, 2012 — “Glory Days” with Joe Grushecky
(Note: Springsteen will be back at Consol on April 22, 2014.)

GREEN DAY — March 31, 2013 — “Holiday”

WIZ KHALIFA — Dec. 12, 2012 — “Black and Yellow”

VAN HALEN — March 30, 2012 — Full concert

KATY PERRY — June 23, 2011 — “I Kissed A Girl”
(Note: Perry will be back at Consol on July 22, 2014.)

TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS — June 20, 2013 — “Refugee”

KANYE WEST & JAY Z — Nov. 27, 2011 — “Gotta Have It”

BILLY JOEL — Feb. 21, 2014 — “Piano Man”

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE — Dec. 14, 2013 — “Mirrors”

FLEETWOOD MAC — April 26, 2013 — “Go Your Own Way”
(Note: Fleetwood Mac will be back at Consol on Oct. 14, 2014.)

LADY GAGA — Sept. 5, 2010 — “Poker Face”
(Note: Lady Gaga will be back at Consol on May 8, 2014.)

ERIC CLAPTON — April 6, 2013 — “Layla”

RUSH — Sept. 11, 2012 — “Working Man”

BON JOVI — Feb. 11 & 12, 2011 — “Wanted Dead or Alive”

ROGER WATERS — Sept. 26, 2010 (& July 3, 2012) — “Comfortably Numb”


7 most memorable PNC Park moments


We all remember the promise. The line that came across as a twisted take on “Field of Dreams”:
If the taxpayers finance it, the wins will come.
Or something like that.
Either way, in the late 1990s, one of the biggest talking points supporting the construction of PNC Park was the notion that the Pirates’ long-dormant success was tied to a brand-new stadium. So, a piece of the North Side became the North Shore, Three Rivers Stadium went kaput, and one of Major League Baseball’s finest facilities was conceived.
Then came 2001 and 100 losses. Then came 11 more losing seasons.
Then came 2013.
The jewel of the Allegheny River finally hosted a team that matched its builders’ and fans’ hopes. And as the city witnessed the Pirates’ long-awaited return to the postseason in 2013, that beautiful ballpark became the beating heart of Pittsburgh for a summer (OK, maybe the giant rubber duck across the river had an argument, too.)
It feels as if a new era is starting in PNC Park’s history, and with a new season beginning today, it’s time to take a look back at a handful of the most memorable games and moments to take place on that grass — warning: not all are pretty.



(Photo: Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review)

While fans first filled the seats at PNC Park for a pair of exhibition games, it wasn’t until April 9, 2001, that the facility hosted a game that mattered in the standings.

In the stadium’s inaugural home opener, the Reds rolled the Pirates, 8-2 in front of 36,954 fans. But at least it was a hometown boy who christened the park.
Reds first baseman Sean Casey, an Upper St. Clair native, collected the first hit in the ballpark’s history with a two-run, first-inning home run off Pirates starter Todd Ritchie.
Casey — so well-liked by the Cincinnati fan base he was nicknamed “The Mayor” — made plenty of return trips to Pittsburgh with the division rival, but he also played 59 games in a Pirates uniform in 2006.
(Photo: Associated Press)
Say this for Lloyd McClendon: The guy cared.
Manager of the Pirates from 2001 to 2005 — and about to begin a new tenure in the dugout with Seattle — McClendon might have been the most entertaining part of that ugly first season at PNC Park. His meltdown on July 26 certainly got one of the biggest cheers that summer.
Arguing a close call at first base after Jason Kendall was called out, McClendon unleashed a lengthy tirade with the umpire and escalated it to an Incredible Hulk level. After chucking his hat halfway to second base, he was thrown from the game — but he took a parting gift.
Ripping the base out of the ground and hugging it under his arm, McClendon stomped with purpose back to the dugout, where he chucked the base to the ground before leaving. The incident had some life to it, too, even making it to No. 6 on a “SportsCenter” list of top meltdowns.
But as an eyewitness to the scene, I always felt there was a sad end to this tale. When the bat boy sprinted onto the field with a new base, the crowd booed the poor kid.
Brian Giles
(Photo: Getty Images)

These days, an Andrew McCutchen highlight-reel catch in the outfield is almost as much of a nighlty ritual as pierogie races. We could build quite a list trying to document them all.
But the celebrated center fielder may not have the best catch in PNC Park history.
Brian Giles, who roamed the outfield for the Pirates from 1999 to 2003, was known primarily for his big bat — he hit at least 35 homers four times while in Pittsburgh. And though his split from the Pirates and revelations of his clubhouse behavior irked fans, for a time, the two-time All-Star was the best of the Bucs.
His finest moment in black and gold might have been June 21, 2003, against Cleveland.
The game itself was one of the longest ever at PNC Park, with the Pirates winning, 7-6, in 15 innings. The extra innings, however, may not have been needed had Giles not made a game-saving play in the eighth.
With a man on, one out and the Pirates trailing by a run, the Indians’ Brandon Phillips drove a pitch deep down the left-field line. Giles sprinted to the wall near the foul pole, leapt, planted his left foot into the wall’s padding and stretched into the stands for the ball.
He robbed Phillips and the Indians of a three-run lead, the look on his face barely concealing his own amazement with the play. Seven innings later, the play still stood out in a night full of wild moments.
And there was a nice gash in the left-field wall in case anyone forgot.
JCS All-Star 12 02
(Photo: JC Schisler  |  Tribune-Review)
From the start, PNC Park, with its traditional feel and striking backdrop, was regarded as one of America’s best sporting venues. Yet, with the Pirates then hardly a draw for big networks, the field didn’t make a true debut to a national audience until the 2006 All-Star Game.
Pittsburgh shined up well for the event, with plenty of highlights outside of the game, including a parade of players across the Roberto Clemente Bridge and an entertaining Home Run Derby — be careful, some of the balls David Ortiz launched into orbit finally may be on a return trajectory.
And though it was low-scoring, the game itself provided some late dramatics.
The National League was looking to break a nine-game losing streak in the series — not to mention clinch home field advantage in the World Series. Those goals were in grasp, with the NL holding a one-run lead for most of the game, but the AL scored twice in the top of the ninth to grab a 3-2 victory.
As for the Pirates presence at the game, outfield starter Jason Bay went 1 for 3 at the plate, while Freddy Sanchez was hitless in a pair of at-bats yet made an outstanding leaping catch at shortstop.
CAH Bucs Brewers 22 3
(Photo: Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review)
Sitting in my closet is a green Pirates cap. Never have been much of a hat wearer, but this one I keep as a special memento. This giveaway item on April 22, 2010 — Earth Day — came along with history.
Brewers 20, Pirates 0.
That grey afternoon was the worst loss in the history of a franchise founded in 1882.
Against six Pirates pitchers, the Brewers collected 25 hits, with 12 going for extra bases. It was the final game of a monumentally malicious three-game series that saw the home team outscored a combined 36-1.
The capper on the day? When the Brewers scored their 20th run, a portion of what little remained of the crowd sent up a sarcastic cheer.
Given recent developments, maybe it’s time to burn that hat.
CAH Bucs Cubs0709 8
(Photo: Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review)
It was in 2011 that the Pirates finally were showing signs of maybe, possibly, hopefully, perhaps turning the corner. Of course, now we know the answer was yes, they were. Sort of.
The season still ended with 90 losses, but there was a flash of excitement in July, when the Pirates mingled among the NL Central leaders for a week or so before the bottom fell out.
Still, the Pirates contending so late in the season was unheard of at PNC Park. When the Cubs visited for the opener of a weekend series July 8, the Pirates were three games above .500, and buzz around the ballpark was hopeful, if wary.
It was a tight game that saw the Pirates rally from deficits twice before Chicago took a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning. For the Pirates of the previous two decades, a comeback likely wouldn’t have been in the offing.
Enter Michael McKenry.
The stocky catcher — nicknamed “The Fort” for his defense and his name’s similarity to the national anthem’s Fort McHenry — had just eight hitless at-bats in the majors before the Pirates acquired him in June 2011. Suddenly thrust into a big role and as blue-collar as they come, he endeared himself to Pittsburghers against the Cubs.
After the Pirates knotted the game at four runs with two outs, McKenry put every member of the crowd of 37,140 at the edge of their seat with a dramatic eight-pitch at-bat that ended with him crushing a three-run homer to left field. It was the first home run of his career and even drew a curtain call.
For that night and through the end of the month, the city was reminded of just how exciting a playoff chase could be. Two seasons later, the chase was finally over.
(Photo: Philip G. Pavely  |  Tribune-Review)
In a city fortunate to have a deep roster of vivd sports memories, it’s hard to tell how the Pirates’ 2013 Wild Card Game victory against the Reds will hold up over time.
This was no Immaculate Reception. It wasn’t Bill Mazeroski’s World Series-winning home run. Those moments stand among the greatest scenes in American sports.
No, the Pirates beating the Reds, 6-2, for their first postseason victory since 1992 felt more personal to Pittsburgh. It was the cathartic conclusion to a two-decade nightmare.
On a night full of priceless pictures — Andrew McCutchen’s mom singing the anthem was a brilliant idea — there’s one moment, a second-inning at-bat, that stands out more than any other.
Minutes after Marlon Byrd hit a solo home run to put the Pirates ahead, 1-0, catcher Russell Martin came to the plate. Already jazzed up by Byrd’s blast, the fans were haranguing Red pitcher Johnny Cueto with the simplest of heckles:
Shrugging off the noise, Cueto soldiered on. Sure. With a 2-1 count, he stepped on the rubber and…
… dropped the ball.
Maybe it was nerves. Maybe it just slipped. Maybe they could hear the ensuing cheers in Cincinnati.
Cueto gave an aw-shucks grin. and Martin flashed one, too. Then, he launched Cueto’s next pitch into the left-field stands. Cue the sea of waving jolly roger flags.
In that moment, it seemed as if the fans — those patient, patient fans — had actually willed the ball over the wall. Home-field advantage never felt so palpable. PNC Park never felt so alive.
It was the type of moment the place was built for.

10 most disappointing moments in Pitt sports


Pitt fans always have heartbreak in the back of their minds. Those who cheer for the Panthers realize this is a way of life, and can point to several moments in which they were let down. With the NCAA Tournament going on, what better time is there to point out some of the most-crushing blows Pitt fans have experienced. Choosing from football and men’s basketball — the most popular sports at the school — here are some of the more heart-breaking defeats:

10. Pitt vs. Ohio State (football, 1996) — It wasn’t so much a letdown, but the Buckeyes unleashed a 72-0 beating on the Panthers in Columbus. The game was over by halftime for coach Johnny Majors and the Pitt football team, as they trailed 52-0.

9. Syracuse vs. Pitt (basketball, 2014) — No. 1 Syracuse was undefeated and on the ropes at Petersen Events Center until freshman guard Tyler Ennis hit a buzzer-beating miracle bucket to crush the hopes of the Pitt men’s basketball team.

8. UConn vs. Pitt (basketball, 1998) — The Pitt men’s basketball team was enjoying a sort-of resurgence under coach Ralph Willard, but the season went down the tubes after UConn guard Khalid El-Amin shocked Oakland with this game-winner.

7. Pitt vs. Kent State (basketball, 2002) — The Panthers had a good shot at a Final Four berth with Indiana knocking off NCAA Tournament favorite Duke, but they couldn’t get past future NFL star Antonio Gates and Kent State in the Sweet 16.

6. Pitt vs. Notre Dame (football, 2012) — No. 3 Notre Dame was undefeated and charging toward the national title, but was down by two TDs against Pitt in the fourth quarter. The Irish regrouped and knocked off the Panthers in triple overtime.

5. Pitt vs. Vanderbilt (basketball, 1988) — The highly regarded Panthers — paced by Charles Smith and Jerome Lane — were expected to make a run in the NCAA Tournament until they ran into Barry Goheen and Vanderbilt in the second round.

4. Pitt vs. Butler (basketball, 2011) — Butler had been to the national title game the year before but wasn’t as good in 2011. Still, the Bulldogs managed to knock off the Panthers, holding a No. 1 seed, in a second-round upset in the NCAA Tournament.

3. Cincinnati vs. Pitt (football, 2009) — The Big East championship and a trip to a BCS bowl were on the line, as the high-powered Bearcats clawed back for a win to take it all away from the Pitt football team on a frigid day at Heinz Field.

2. Pitt vs. Villanova (basketball, 2009) — With a No. 1 seed and a shot at the Final Four at stake, the Pitt men were unable to stop speedy Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds, who hit a shot with a few seconds left on the clock to boot the Panthers.

1. Penn State vs. Pitt (football, 1981) — Pitt had Dan Marino at quarterback, a perfect record and a probable shot at the national championship with rival Penn State coming into town. Pitt jumped out early, but it was all Nittany Lions after that.


14 foods you forgot were endorsed by Pittsburgh athletes


If you’re at the right store (or, you can find Brett “The Diesel” Keisel salsa, Pascal Dupuis’ dijon mustard or Steel City Mustard featuring Neil Walker.

You may also remember the Hines Ward 86 Steak Sauce. How about Jerome Bettis’ World Championship Crunch cereal, mustard, salsa, peanut butter, pickles or BBQ sauce? Or Heath Miller’s Heath’s Big Money Bar? Or City of Champions cereal (with either Hines Ward or Max Talbot)?

Here are 14 more foods you may have forgotten were endorsed by Pittsburgh athletes:




Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw — Terry’s Peanut Butter (creamy or crunchy).



(Photo: Phil Pavely  |  Tribune-Review)

Penguins right wing Jaromir Jagr — Jagr Creamy Peanut Butter (Produced by Pittsburgh’s PLB Sports)



Steelers quarterback Bubby Brister — Bubby candy bar (Produced by Pittsburgh’s Chris Candies)



(Photo: Phil Pavely  |  Tribune-Review)

Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox — Tommy Gun Flakes cereal (Produced by PLB Sports). They also made Tommy Maddox BBQ Sauce.




Steelers running back Franco Harris — Franco’s Cheese Pizza (Produced by Burgettstown’s Panhandle Food Sales)



(Photo: Phil Pavely  |  Tribune-Review)

Penguins defenseman Darius Kasparaitis — Kasparaitis Kruncher’s premium dill spears (Produced by Pittsburgh’s PLB Sports)



(Photo: Phil Pavely  |  Tribune-Review)

Penguins center Mario Lemieux — Mario Bun (Produced by Clark)



(Photo: Phil Pavely  |  Tribune-Review)

Steelers receiver Lynn Swann — Super 88 cereal (Produced by Pittsburgh’s PLB Sports)




Steelers receiver Louis Lipps — Lippsmackers Gourmet Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies



(Photo: Phil Pavely  |  Tribune-Review)

Pirates catcher Jason Kendall — Kendall Krunch cereal (Produced by Pittsburgh’s PLB Sports)



(Photo: Phil Pavely  |  Tribune-Review)

Olympic sprinter Lauryn Williams —  Fast Flakes cereal (Produced by Pittsburgh’s PLB Sports)


(Photo: Phil Pavely  |  Tribune-Review)

Steelers special teams ace Chidi Iwuoma — Geronimo Salsa (Produced by Pittsburgh’s PLB Sports)

On a side note, Joey Porter and Clark Haggans had very similar salsas at the same time.




Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger — Big Ben’s Beef Jerky (Produced by Pittsburgh’s PLB Sports)



(Photo: Phil Pavely  |  Tribune-Review)

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury — Fleury Flakes (Produced by Pittsburgh’s PLB Sports)


And finally, the Czech Republic leaves us with two mysteries:

1. Penguins defenseman Jiri Slegr reportedly had his own cookies around 1999

2. Jaromir Jagr breath mints? The text translates to “for fresh breath” and “eucalyptus extracts.”





10 best movies filmed around Pittsburgh


OK, so Western Pennsylvania has become a hub for filmmaking. Over the past few years, we’ve had “Out of the Furnace,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Love and Other Drugs” and a few others. Sure, we’re not Hollywood or the Big Apple, but, give it some time, and, maybe … Well, moving on, here’s a list of the Top 10 movies shot in Western Pennsylvania. It was a rigorous selection process, as we strived to find the movies that had the most scenes filmed in and around Western Pennsylvania.



10. “Warrior” (2011) — Easily, one of the most under-seen movies of 2011, “Warrior” follows the story of two brothers from a hardscrabble Pittsburgh family looking for a big payday in a national UFC event. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton turn in great performances, as well as Nick Nolte, who picked up an Oscar nomination for his role. For a little extra Pittsburgh flavor, Kurt Angle had a supporting part.



9. “Dogma” (1999) — Director Kevin Smith has filmed a couple of movies in Pittsburgh, but “Dogma” is among his best. Yep, right up there with “Clerks” and “Mallrats.” A tremendous cast — Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock, Linda Fiorentino, Jason Lee, George Carlin  and Salma Hayek star — does great work in this thought-provoking comedic assault on Catholicism.



8. “Wonder Boys” (2000) — A stellar cast, including Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr., and Katie Holmes, navigates filmmaker Curtis Hanson’s spectacular comedy drama, adapted from Pitt grad Michael Chabon’s novel of the same name. The picture tracks the relationship between a college professor and one of his outcast students. Well, actually they’re both outcasts.



7. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012) — Credit Stephen Chbosbky for one of the best teen dramedies that’s arrived in theaters since the heyday of John Hughes. The Pittsburgh native penned the bestselling coming-of-age novel of the same name before putting together a screenplay and directing the movie himself. The results turned out to be one of the best films of 2012. Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller have lead roles.



6. “Flashdance” (1983) — One of the movies that’s always identified as being a Pittsburgh movie, director Adrian Lyne’s film was immensely popular in the 1980s. Although it doesn’t hold up as well as some of the others, it’s feel-good final scene is still fantastic. Starring Jennifer Beals and Michael Nouri, it presents a gritty Pittsburgh that was still in the process of making its transition to a hub for healthcare, energy and tech companies.



5. “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) — The final film of director Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy was the weakest of the three, but it was still a darn good picture. Not to mention, it’s part of arguably the greatest superhero franchise to ever hit the silver screen. Sorry, Superman. Intense performances from Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Tom Hardy only helped the film’s cause.



4. “Lorenzo’s Oil” (1993) — A real tearjerker, this drama starring Nick Nolte, Susan Sarandon and Peter Ustinov landed two Academy Award nominations. The feature, based on a true story, follows two parents striving to find a cure for what ails their young son. As their son’s health continues to decline, the mother and father are met with constant dead ends by medical specialists. Will their hard work eventually pay off? Pass the tissues, please.



3. “Bob Roberts” (1992) — Tim Robbins made his directorial debut with this mockumentary that will go down as one of the best movies about politics ever made. Packed with satire, Robbins plays the wealthy Bob Roberts, a guitar-slinging conservative who’s making a run for the U.S. Senate. Alan Rickman, Susan Sarandon, Giancarlo Espisito and Gore Vidal back Robbins in hilarious supporting roles.



 2. “Silence of the Lambs” (1991) — One of the best thrillers of all time, “Silence of the Lambs,” a winner of five Academy Awards, might’ve even cost Alfred Hitchcock a good night’s sleep. Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins give scintillating performances in director Jonathan Demme’s masterpiece. The film follows a hunt for a serial killer in which a young FBI agent turns to an imprisoned psychopath for advice on finding their man.



1. “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) — Sick of seeing zombies in movies or on TV all the time? Well, you can thank George A. Romero, a young Carnegie Mellon graduate who made “Night of the Living Dead.” Since its arrival, the film has spawned a genre that refuses to die. The film follows a group of folks trapped in a secluded house surrounded by zombies. It’s a film that still stands as a game changer in the horror genre. 



— “Gung Ho” (1986)

— “Adventureland” (2010)

— “The Mothman Prophecies” (2002)

— “Angels in the Outfield” (1951)

— “Hoffa” (1992)

— “Kingpin” (1996)

— “The Road” (2009)

— “The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh” (1979)

— “Dominick & Eugene” (1988)

— “Out of the Furnace” (2013)


12 trades that had the biggest impact on the Penguins


With the trade deadline approaching later this afternoon, it seems like an appropriate time to take a look back through Penguins history at the deals that may have had the biggest impact on the team.

Most of the team’s blockbuster moves haven’t even come at the trade deadline. Some were straight-up swaps; others were rentals for the rest of the season. Future Hall of Famers came and went. And a few even led to Stanley Cups:


Pittsburgh Penguins Ron Francis 1991 / Credit Pittsburgh Penguins Archives

(Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins archives)

March 4, 1991 — The Penguins acquire Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings from the Hartford Whalers for John Cullen, Zarley Zalapski and Jeff Parker.

Francis gave the Penguins a two-way center who could chip in on offense, while Samuelsson and Jennings added beef to the team’s blue line. Less than three months later, the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup.

Rick Tocchet, Kris King, Kevin Collins

(Photo: Associated Press)

Feb. 19, 1992 — The Penguins acquire Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson, Ken Wregget and a third-round pick from the Philadelphia Flyers for Mark Recchi, Brian Benning and a first-round pick. (Benning and the pick, along with Jeff Chychrun, came from the Los Angeles Kings on the same day in exchange for Paul Coffey.)

Even though the Penguins were fresh off a Stanley Cup, another shakeup was deemed necessary under new coach Scotty Bowman. Out went offensively gifted Coffey and Recchi, and in came some grit from Philly with Tocchet and Samuelsson. Three months later, the Penguins claimed their second consecutive Stanley Cup.


(Photo: Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review) 

Feb. 26, 2008 — The Penguins acquire Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis from the Atlanta Thrashers for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a first-round pick.

The Penguins made a huge splash at the trade deadline in acquiring Hossa as a rental player with Dupuis adding speed and penalty-killing prowess. The Penguins returned to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1992, but lost in six games to the Detroit Red Wings.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins

(Photo: Getty Images)

Sept. 13, 1974 — The Penguins acquire Rick Kehoe from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Blaine Stoughton and a first-round pick.

Kehoe wound up playing 11 seasons for the Penguins, retiring as the franchise’s all-time scoring leader with 312 goals and 324 assists for 636 points. In 1981, he scored a career-high 55 goals and won the Lady Byng Trophy.


(Photo: Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review)

June 21, 2003 — The Penguins acquire the first overall pick, used on Marc-Andre Fleury, and a third-round pick from the Florida Panthers for Mikael Samuelsson and first- and third-round picks.

With their first top overall pick since drafting Mario Lemieux in 1983, the Penguins opted to go after Fleury as their franchise goalie. Fleury backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in 2009 and sits atop the team’s all-time wins list with 280 (as of March 3).


(Photo: Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review)

July 11, 2001 — The Penguins trade Jaromir Jagr and Frantisek Kucera to the Washington Capitals for Kris Beech, Ross Lupaschuk and Michal Sivek.

After 11 scintillating seasons with the Penguins — which included five Art Ross Trophies and one Hart Trophy — Jagr’s time in Pittsburgh came to an end. Near the end of his tenure, Jagr, who sits right behind Lemieux in most Penguins all-time offensive categories, had asked for a trade.

The prospects acquired in this trade never really panned out, and the Penguins had four straight losing seasons after not posting a sub .500 seasons since 1988-89.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Montreal Canadiens

(Photo: Getty Images)

Nov. 24, 1987 — The Penguins acquire Paul Coffey, Dave Hunter and Wayne Van Dorp from the Edmonton Oilers for Dave Hannan, Chris Joseph, Moe Mantha and Craig Simpson.

Coffey won three Stanley Cups with the Oilers and continued his offensive production for the Penguins. The smooth-skating defenseman served as a power-play quarterback and taught the young Penguins the values of off-ice conditioning.


(Photo: Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review)

Nov. 12, 1988 — The Penguins acquire Tom Barrasso and a third-round pick from the Buffalo Sabres for Doug Bodger and Darrin Shannon.

Barrasso, who won the Vezina Trophy as an 19-year-old rookie, gave the Penguins a franchise goaltender. Barrasso led the team to two Stanley Cups, and his performance in 1992 could have won the Conn Smythe Award. He set Penguins’ goaltending records for wins (226), minutes (25,879) and shutouts (22) that stood until Fleury surpassed them.

Pittsburgh Penguins  v Boston Bruins

(Photo: Getty Images)

June 13, 1978 — The Penguins acquire Randy Carlyle and George Ferguson for Dave Burrows and a sixth-round pick.

Carlyle became the  Penguins’ first — and only — winner of the Norris Trophy, as the NHL’s top defenseman with a career year in 1980-81. He finished with 16 goals and 67 assists for 83 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins

(Photo: Getty Images)

May 21, 1968 — The Penguins acquire Jean Pronovost and John Arbour from the Boston Bruins for cash.

Pronovost played 10 seasons for the P enguins, becoming the first player in franchise history to notch 50 goals and 100 points, both in 1975-76.


(Photo: Getty Images)

Jan. 26, 1971 — The Penguins acquire Syl Apps Jr. and Sheldon Kannegiesser from the New York Rangers for Glen Sather.

Apps formed the “Century  Line” along with Lowell MacDonald and Pronovost. From 1972-73 to 1975-76, the three players combined to score more than 900 points.


(Photo: Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review)

March 4, 2009 — The Penguins acquire Bill Guerin from the New York Islanders for a third-round pick.

Guerin joined the Penguins and added 15 points in 24 playoff games playing on Sidney Crosby’s wing. Perhaps equally as important, he provided veteran leadership in the locker room. Three months later, the Penguins were celebrating with their third Stanley Cup.


Honorable mentions: 

Neal/Niskanen for Goligoski, 2-21-11

Naslund for Stojanov, 3-20-96

Nedved/Zubov for Robitaille/Samuelsson, 8-31-95

Murphy/Taglianetti for Johnson/Dahlquist, 12-11-90

Mullen for 2nd round pick, 6-16-90

Stackhouse for Lynch/Rutherford, 1-17-74


ICYMI: Penguins writer Rob Rossi took a look at current general manager Ray Shero’s moves dating back to 2007.

— Mike Palm