Am I a Lucky Guy Or What?

Am I a Lucky Guy Or What?

Or “How the Pitt Baseball Team + Trees Hall + an Econ Major Helped Shape My Journey to Pitt Football Fandom!”  Here is MajorMajors’ bio for all to read and enjoy…

I grew up on Mt. Washington overlooking Pittburgh’s Golden Triangle – though it wasn’t yet quite so golden when I was growing up in the 1950s. My very first memories of the Pitt Panther football team came from the local evening news on TV. When I was twelve years old, I remember seeing these dazzling highlights of guys named Paul Martha, Fred Mazurek, and Rick Leeson. When playing touch football in the playground, I wanted to be those guys, making those long, zigzagging touchdown runs, as much as I wanted to be Buddy Dial or Gary Ballman of the Steelers. (BTW, in 1963, the Martha/Mazurek led Panthers went 9-1; the Steelers had the odd record of 7-4-3.)

No one in my family had gone to college and we had no connections to Pitt. I went to Pitt as the home-town school and am a proud graduate of Pitt’s Civil Engineering program. But I attended Pitt during some really dark days for Pitt football — from 1967 to 1971. It happened that I played on the Pitt baseball team, coached for over three decades by Bobby Lewis. It was here that my connection to Pitt football was cemented for all time.

Unlike now, back then several of the football players played on the baseball team. (Though I always suspected that some of them came out just because the baseball team opened the 1968 and 1969 seasons with weeklong trips in March to play in tournaments at Riverside, CA and Miami, FL, respectively.) Back then, freshmen could not play on the varsity – so I had to play on the freshman team for the 1968 season.

I won a starting outfield job as a Sophomore and I was playing on the same baseball team with guys like pitcher Frank Gustine Jr., who played QB, and our ace pitcher George “Doc” Medich, who played tight-end. Others I can remember were Joe McCain, tailback, Jeff Barr, defensive back, John Simpson, offensive lineman, and Ray Reppert, QB.

Knowing these guys made me root for them on the football field all the more. I really wanted to play football, but as the guy in “Rudy” says, “at 100-and nothin’ and and 5-foot nothin’” that wasn’t going to happen. Even though our football team won few games during my time at Pitt, I went to every home game and rooted like crazy.

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