My wife and I have been to the Heinz History Center in the past, most recently for the Hometown Homegrown event they hosted last fall. However, we’d never spent any time at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, which spans the second and third floors of the Center. As rabid Steelers/Penguins/Pirates fans, we felt this to be an egregious error and made a trip to the Strip District in February to rectify the situation.
While you are greeted by Franco Harris, mid-catching-the-greatest-catch-in-professional-sports-history, there is so much more here than Steelers/Pens/Pirates artifacts. The museum covers pro sports, but also presents memorabilia and factoids about all sorts of sports and athletes from around our region. We took plenty of pictures, to give you a taste of the tour we enjoyed.
(Or, ahem, our powder-blue throwback jerseys.) Here’s Fox posing with some gear from her favorite shortstop of all time, Jack Wilson.
The museum did a nice job of sprinkling the big team memorabilia throughout, while taking time for some of our lesser-known sports heroes — like this homegrown National Marble Champion! (Check out that crown! You know you jealous, Jay-Z.)
Here’s a tribute to Delvin Miller, a Harness Racing Hall of Fame driver-trainer-breeder whose excellence spanned seven decades.
Cool facts about the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.
Attention all you turkeys — Bocce was kind of a big deal in Pittsburgh.
Here is a display of the various seats used at Forbes Field.
Artifacts from our famed Negro League baseball team, the Homestead Grays.
A tribute to “The Chief” himself, patriarch of the best ownership family in professional sports, Art Rooney.
A feature on Franco’s Italian Army. (Wonder if they were into Bocce?)
A celebration of the most famous rag in pro sports: the Terrible Towel.
And here is the epitome of what it means to be a Pittsburgh athlete: Hines Ward, playing smashmouth with a smile.
All in all, we had a great time and learned about a lot of lesser-known Pittsburgh sports trivia. It was a totally worthwhile experience. The only thing that left me wanting was that the museum hasn’t been updated in a few years, so we’ve got nothing about the resurgent Pirates, or our last Steelers Superbowl victory. But still, you should absolutely go and learn about our region. We really only touched the tip of the “Iceburgh”. Make a trip over to the Heinz History Center today!