From the PG Archives: Grid "Pirates" Pass Out; They're the "Steelers" Now

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This story from the Post-Gazette archives was first published on March 2, 1940.

The Pittsburgh Steelers make their first showing in the National Football League this fall.

They are Art Rooney's Pittsburgh Pirates, renamed now following a contest in which several thousand pro football fans submitted approximately 0,000 suggested nicknames.

They are named the "Steelers" because of the city's position as the world's leading steel center. The new name will bring an end to the confusion caused by two Pittsburgh Pirate teams, the National League baseball club and the pro grid aggregation.

The contest produced 21 winners, only one of whom is a woman. Each winner will receive two 1940 season tickets, which means the contest for the selection of a new name will set back Prexy Rooney the equivalent of $200.

The first actual contest entry was received Jan. 2 from Arnold, Uniontown Daily News Standard sports editor. One of his suggestions was the Steelers.

One man submitted 65 names touching virtually everything but the Steelers.

The feminine winner was Miss Margaret O'Donnell, 125 Hawkins Avenue.

Another winner was John H. Harris, president of the Hornets hockey club.

Contest entries came from as far away as Two Rivers, Wis., where the 1939 Pirates trained, and nearby Green Bay, where they played an exhibition game with the Packers.

Pittsburghers who shared in the prize-winning name were:

James J. Fallon, Jr., 323 Carson St.; Fred J. Litschge, 6103 Penn Ave.; Harry J. Milton, 3379 Parkview Ave.; Thomas Jones, 1502 Berkshire Ave.; John Vaiksnor, 2124 Sarah St.; P.J. Malloy, 102 Beelen St.; Arnold Thornburg, 1300 Beaver Ave.; Joseph K. Elkins, 67 Deary Ave.; Miss O'Donnell and hockey mogul Harris.

Others among the 20 winners were Andy Vuskey, Bridgeport, O., promoter who put on a Pirate exhibition game in Wheeling in 1935; Joseph Gafney, Johnstown; Frank Murman, Jeannette; Ronald Corbett, Clarion; Joseph Santoni, Charleroi; John Tirek, CCC Camp, Waterville; Frank Lesh, Beaver Falls; John F. Riley, North Braddock; Victor Salderelli, New Florence; Edward King, Butler, and Uniontown Sports Writer Goldberg.

Rooney and his head football coach, Walter Kiesling, looked over Conneaut Lake Park late last week as a possible training site for the Steelers.


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