Hidden Uni Gems in Pittsburgh Sports History
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Pittsburgh is a city synonymous with black and gold. They're fantastic colors and for the most part have kept Pittsburgh uniforms looking consistently solid. We're lucky in a lot of ways that we don't have the history of abominable uniforms that other cities have.
We've never had a burger king mascot on a jersey, or an ad for fish sticks or something that looked straight out of Star Trek, but sometimes sometimes jerseys get lost in the sea of Black and Gold, I asked some of my colleagues here for their picks on their favorite hidden gem uniforms.
We tried to pick things from lesser known defunct teams, because that last thing you need is three yinzers all picking the 70s steelers jerseys (check some Pittsburgh blog, I betcha this has happened) and making this the most boring article in the world. So here's our picks for the good, bad, ugly, and downright strange
My Pick: The Pittsburgh Maulers:
While I think my three absolute favorite jerseys are likely the mid-70s Penguins white and blues and the Rod Woodson-era white steeler jerseys with the three quarter sleeves with the proper block letters and grey facemasks: If we’re talking hidden gems, 100% it’s gotta be the Pittsburgh Maulers.
Purple and Orange are such a strange color palette for Pittsburgh. The jerseys themselves are solid, but the logo and helmet are what really make it. Especially when you consider how trash off brand football teams uniforms and jerseys usually are (I still have nightmares about the clip art vibes that XFL and AAF gave off).
Ev's Pick: The Pittsburgh Bulls (1990-1993)
Lacrosse has a pretty novel uniform to begin with. Players wear a long sleeved jersey with very little upper body padding, a hockey helmet and gloves, and then spandex shorts that make it seem like they’re wearing a wrestling singlet underneath it all.
For the Pittsburgh Bulls of the early 90’s, the team wore jerseys quite similar to that of the “Batman” style jerseys worn by the Steelers in the mid 60’s. Although the aesthetic wasn’t all that great, the mascot was fantastically fitting, as many Pittsburgh Bull players were known for sleeping with the wives of the rival Philadelphia Wings.
Bobby Back-Nine's Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates of the NHL
How could you not suggest the original Pittsburgh Pirates? No, not the baseball team. And no, not even the old football team. I’m talking about the very first professional sports team in Pittsburgh to rock the black and gold — the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NHL (1925-30).
The jersey was absurd. It was designed by a lawyer from Lawrenceville named Bill Callahan who was known for being frugal. So much so, that I assume he scratched a shitty letter “P” onto a napkin with piece of charcoal and called it a day. You can still get the jersey here.
The Pittsburgh Pipers/Condors
Pro Basketball has consistently not worked in Pittsburgh. But the gear has always been pretty solid, first with the Pipers and then after a brief move followed by a return, the Condors. Just a sweet-ass bird logo clutching the ABA ball.
The Batman Jerseys:
Kinda going off Ev's pick here these are less forgotten than in some sort of weird jersey purgatory. The Steeler's old triangle batman jerseys are divisive and mostly bring back bad memories for older Steeler fans for when the team was consistently hot garbage. There's even a rumor that, the Rooney's will never let them wear them because of the reminder of the SOS years. That being said, I'm a huge fan.
I might be in the minority but the bumble bee uniforms were trash and the while I dig the yellow helmets with the 50s throwbacks, they just sorta look like an off brand football team to me.
70s Pitt Panthers Football:
Pitt has a problem of getting out of their own way with literally everything. It was once owner of the coolest jersey that decided to switch their colors to some sort of navy Notre dame rip off look, and then got rid of the script for Barney the dinosaur as a mascot.
Whereas every other jersey on this list belongs to a defunct team or in the case of the batman jerseys that have no case of coming back, this is a uniform that Pitt has tried to bring back but didn't quite get it right. So the elusive nature of this one is just that Pitt can't get their shit together.
Now Pitt has righted ship almost, but the colors are a little off, a little too light.