With May 31st being the 133rd anniversary of the Great Johnstown Flood, one BTSC author remembers his hometown and it’s many links to his favorite team over the years.
It’s the offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers and there are so many topics to talk and write about. Free agents, the coordinator conundrum, the next quarterback, the NFL Draft, and breaking news will all be covered here at BTSC. But who’s going to give you little-known-facts out of the 500 Level?
Luckily, your one-stop, and non-stop, shop for everything Steelers employs a Steelers fan that was allegedly dropped on his head as a one-year-old during the Immaculate Reception. Useless and somewhat fascinating facts are his forte. So, here we are with off-the-wall thoughts from the dark side of a black-and-gold brain that nobody asked for. But the joke’s on you as you’ll be telling your peeps something you read here later.
Action star Charles Dennis Buchinsky was born right outside of Johnstown in Ehrenfeld, PA in 1921. One of the toughest guys in Hollywood history, Charles Bronson epitomized the blue-collar town he hailed from portraying grizzled gunfighters, policemen or vigilantes. Most famous for the Death Wish movies, Bronson’s grit and bad-assedness mirrored that of his home team Steelers in the 70s.
BTSC Steelers Jeopardy
(Answer at bottom of article)
Of course, Johnstown, PA boasts Jack Ham as one of their greatest athletic natural resources. However, other residents of the Cambria County city have had roles with the Steelers.
Cadwalader T. Reese - Assistant Coach (Pirates) - 1934-1936
Chris Peduzzi - Athletic Trainer Intern - 1996-1998
Ed Adamchik - Steelers Center - 1965
Tom Kalmanir - Drafted by the Steelers in the 25th round of the 1947 NFL Draft
Tom Bradley - Steelers Defensive Backs Coach - 2018-2020
Jack Ham - Steelers Hall of Fame Linebacker - 1971-1982
Carlton Haselrig - Steelers Pro Bowl Offensive Lineman - 1989-1994
LaRod Stephens Howling - Steelers Running Back - 2013
Ed Stofko - Steelers Tailback/Defensive Back - 1944-1945
Dr. James Bradley - Steelers Head Team Orthopedic Surgeon since 1991
Tom Yewcic - Drafted by the Steelers in the 27th round of the 1954 NFL Draft
Middle Name Madness
We love citing the second name of members of the Men of Steel here at Behind the Steel Curtain. We always cite Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger, Christopher Lynn Boswell and Trent Jordan Watt, but who else? Hence, the “More You Know Middle Name of the Week”. This week we feature the Bishop McCort Crusher and Hall of Famer that former Bills GM Doug Whaley doesn’t think could play linebacker in this day and age, For the love of Dobre Shunka, you can’t take the HOF away from the legendary Johnstown native,
Jack Raphael Ham Jr.
This Week’s Birthdays of Steel
5/29 - Nick Eason (1980), Ladarius Green (1990), Zach Valentine (1957)
5/30 - Tyronne Stowe (1965)
5/31 - Norm Johnson (1960)
6/1 - David Hughes - 1959, Chuck Orttman (1929), Jon Witman (1972)
6/2 - Stefan Logan (1981)
6/3 - Orien Harris (1983)
6/4 -Brian Hinkle (1959), Jesse James (1994)
Not every NFL player retires with their original team, having played with no other franchise. We may try to forget the image of our Steel Heroes wearing another uniform, but it’s a part of fandom and legends sometimes change team colors. After a 5-year career from 1989-1994 in Pittsburgh, Johnstown, PA’s Carlton Haselrig moved to the New York Jets for a season. The Pro Bowl lineman and six-time NCAA Heavyweight Champion Wrestler out of Pitt-Johnstown passed away in 2020, but will always be remembered for his time in black and gold. However, the sight of No. 77 wearing the kelly green as a Jet was disconcerting.
Hypocycloids Gone Hollywood
All The Right Moves is far down the Cruiser-verse when it comes to the legendary actor’s greatest films. But for an eleven-year-old kid growing up in Johnstown, PA, this was a blockbuster. Why? That very sixth-grader was absolutely elated to learn that his hometown would be the sight of not only a Hollywood movie, but one about football. My mom took me to famed Point Stadium in Johnstown, PA to be in attendance as an extra at the big game between Ampipe and Walnut Heights. It was an incredible experience as student members of high school bands and football teams appeared in the movie as well. For people that love football, this is a damn good film with Craig T. Nelson and Leah Thompson joining Tom Cruise telling the story of football players trying to get out of the depressed steel town and getting to college or playing for the Steelers. Is it a cult classic? Maybe just to me and a few others. I think I would love this film if I didn’t have history with it, think Vision Quest without a Madonna cameo. 6-2 Stack monster!!!!!
The Cliff Clavin Corner
Two eventually well-known NFL quarterbacks were at the replacement player training camp in Johnstown in ‘87... Erik Kramer and Steve Bono. Furthermore, veterans Mike Webster and Ernest Jackson attended camp there as well, breaking the picket line.
Steelers Jeopardy Answer in the Form of a Question: What is Johnstown, PA
So, there you have it. Anybody can spout out stat after stat, but not everybody can embrace the colorful and personal side of the Pittsburgh Steelers. So, the more you know, the more you can stupefy your friends, family and neighbors with your big, black-and-gold brain.
We’ll see you right here next week. Until then keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the hypocycloids.