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This week in Pittsburgh Sports History

A look back at events that you’ve either forgotten about or never heard of in the first place

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The Pitt Panther - CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • CP photo by Luke Thor Travis
  • The Pitt Panther

Nov. 16, 1909

After a vote of the student body, the University of Pittsburgh begins calling its sports teams the Panthers. It’s the first team in any sport to use that moniker. 

Nov. 16, 1968

An Ecuadorian-born penguin named “Penguin Pete” makes his last appearance as mascot for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Civic Arena. Pete was on loan from the Pittsburgh Aquazoo (which predated PPG Aquarium) and had begun performing between periods the preceding February. Pete had a specially made pair of ice skates, and a trainer taught him how to skate, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, a few days after this appearance, Pete caught pneumonia and died on Nov. 23.

Nov. 17, 1886

After 10 years as a franchise, the Pittsburgh Pirates join the National League.

Nov. 19, 1985

After a 100-loss season, Pirates GM Syd Thrift fires manager Chuck Tanner and hires Jim Leyland.

Nov. 19, 2004

The Pittsburgh Pitbulls make their debut in the minor-league American Basketball Association. The game would be hit with tragedy, however, when coach Tom Washington collapsed in the fourth quarter and died of a heart attack.

Nov. 22, 1890

Western University of Pennsylvania, later known as the University of Pittsburgh, wins its first football game on the last day of its first season, 10-4 over Geneva.


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