Weekend Event Digs into Pittsburgh's Sports History

Article excerpt

No celebration of Pittsburgh's history would be complete without covering the city's passion for professional sports.

That is the idea behind the Federated Investors Parade of Champions event, which will be held Friday through Sunday at the Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip District. The event, which is part of the Pittsburgh 250 celebration, will welcome some of the 'Burgh's most famous sports heroes, including Steve Blass, who was a Pirates pitcher from 1964-74 and is an announcer for the team.

"I think it's great," Blass says of the event. "You only get a chance to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the city once."

Guests can get autographs from former champion athletes and see the trophies earned by the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins. Many celebrity athletes have not confirmed their attendance yet, but the roster will include Franco Harris, Mike Wagner and Rocky Bleier of the Steelers, and players from the Penguins' 1991-92 championship team.

Several of Mario Lemieux's personal trophies will be on display, including the Hart trophy, for regular-season MVP; the Art Ross trophy, for scoring leader; and the Calder trophy for rookie of the year in 1985.

On Saturday morning, ESPN will be filming several "SportsCenter" segments from Parade of Champions. Former Steelers running back and current ESPN personality Merril Hoge will interview Harris and Bleier beginning at 10:00 a.m. inside the Sports Museum.

The interviews will be part of a new series called "Titletown USA" in which 20 cities throughout the country will make their case why they should be known as "Titletown USA. …