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mesaSteeler
02-25-2011, 10:23 AM
http://www.dailyamerican.com/da-ot-rooney-recounts-steelers-ties-to-johnstown-20110224,0,3712618.story
Rooney recounts Steelers' ties to Johnstown

DAN DiPAOLO 30 North Chief

11:02 p.m. EST, February 24, 2011

Johnstown —

James E. Rooney — who served as the keynote speaker for the Penn’s Woods Council of the Boys Scouts of America annual fundraising dinner on Thursday night — said the Pittsburgh Steelers have a unique tie to the city.

Rooney is the son of Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney and the grandson of Steelers founder Arthur J. Rooney.

“The Steelers started in Johnstown and it’s one of our favorite stories, and it’s really enjoyable to me because they were called the James P. Rooneys (after the original owner), who was my great uncle. Jim Rooney was quite a character from what I understand,” Rooney said.

The James P. Rooneys played during the 1920s and early 1930s in Johnstown as a semi-pro team.

That changed in 1932 when many of the country’s so-called “Blue Laws” were eliminated and people began to work Sundays, Rooney said.

The fledgling National Football League began a team in Philadelphia and shortly afterward Charles Bidwell, owner of the Chicago Cardinals, contacted Arthur Rooney about starting a team in Pittsburgh, Rooney said.

His grandfather hedged to Bidwell and then turned to his brother.

“Jim had owed him some money, so he went to Jim and said, ‘Look, Jim, if you give me that football team I’m going to put them in the National Football League and the debt’s even.’ And Jim said, ‘Are you crazy, Art? That’s the worst business deal I’ve ever heard,’” Rooney told the laughing crowd.

“So the James P. Rooneys became the Pittsburgh Pirates and then the Pittsburgh Steelers and moved from Johnstown back to Pittsburgh,” Rooney said.

“So it’s always special for me to be up here,” he concluded.

GMU Steeler
02-25-2011, 01:05 PM
Thanks Mesa for this. My mom's parents were from Johnstown and it was my maternal grandfather and the man I am named after that got me in to football and got me to love the Steelers. Even mentioned that when I spoke at his funeral a couple years back. The great Jack Ham is also from Johnstown. A lot of fascinating history there. I used to go visit my great aunts and uncles all the time as a kid.

mesaSteeler
02-25-2011, 01:22 PM
Thanks Mesa for this. My mom's parents were from Johnstown and it was my maternal grandfather and the man I am named after that got me in to football and got me to love the Steelers. Even mentioned that when I spoke at his funeral a couple years back. The great Jack Ham is also from Johnstown. A lot of fascinating history there. I used to go visit my great aunts and uncles all the time as a kid.

You are most welcome. It's a story I had never heard so I thought others would like it as well.

steelax04
02-25-2011, 03:27 PM
Very cool story, indeed.

skinart82
02-25-2011, 03:46 PM
How cool, that's my hometown! All my family still live there.

LW56
02-25-2011, 06:00 PM
So where does the often heard story that Art Rooney bought this team for $2500 fit in ?

He had supposedly won the $2500 betting on a horse race.