How Joe L Became a Pitt Fan…

How Joe L Became a Pitt Fan…

My friend Joe l. has chipped in with his Bio here also.  I had a great dinner with Joe and his daughters before a Pitt bowl game two years ago… Great kids and a great Pitt fan. 

I am a native Pittsburgher, born in Suburban General Hospital in Bellevue in January of 1960. My parents were both from Richmond, VA and were brought to the Pittsburgh area in 1959 when my Dad took a job at the Shippingport Nuclear Plant (Beaver County) following his graduation from UVa. We lived in the Sewickley Manor apartments just off of Ohio River Boulevard, behind the then Holiday Inn (later featured in the movie “Jack Reacher” as the motel Reacher stayed in while in town).

I am told that at nine months, I was sitting in my dad’s lap when Bill Mazeroski hit the home run over the left center wall (and Yogi Berra’s head) to beat the Yankees and win the 1960 World Series.

When my younger brother was born in 1962, we moved up to Coraopolis Heights directly beneath the water tower with a full view of the Ohio Valley. In 1965, my parents then bought a house in Mount Lebanon off of Beverly Road so that we could attend the local school system.

In the late 60’s, I attended my first big sporting event with my Dad – a Pirates game at Forbes Field. We entered the ballpark with “knothole club” tickets through a nondescript door down Bouquet St. Our seats were high up and I seem to recall that the ramps had railings made of bull rope as we ascended to the upper level.

As a part of the knothole club experience, the Pirates sent up two players to meet with our group before the game. As luck would have it, the two players were from Virginia – Jerry May and Gene Alley. Like my father, Alley grew up in Richmond and the two remembered each other from their high school playing days. I can imagine that it was special for my dad and I thought it was really cool that he knew one of the players.

On the way home from the game, I had my first sight of the monolithic edifice that was Pitt Stadium at the top of the hill. It was gone in a flash as we passed by and I asked my Dad what it was. He told me that was the place where the Pitt pennant on my bedroom wall came from and that we’d go there someday. He occasionally went there with friends and I recall that after one Notre Dame game, he came home and went right to bed – with his clothes still on and on top of the sheets. My mom explained that he had a “virus” but she didn’t seem too sympathetic to his plight.

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