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Pittsburgh/Oakland Success Notes

The titles won in the past week by teams from Pittsburgh (the Penguins) and Oakland (the Warriors) are not the first such instances of Pittsburgh and Oakland having simultaneous champions.

In fact the simultaneous titles, evokes memories of a great six year period (1971-1976) when teams from one of the cities won titles every year, a combined eight by five different teams.

Additionally the football teams from the two cities met in the AFC playoffs for 5 straight seasons from (1972-1976).

The Oakland A’s won three straight World Series crowns (1972-1974), titles preceded by the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 1971, Roberto Clemente and Steve Blass led W.S. triumph.

After the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1974 NFL season and Golden State Warriors in the 1974-1975 NBA season won crowns, combined with the aforementioned ’74 A’s, the two cities had three of the four major sports league champions. The other was the NHL Philadelphia Flyers.

Subsequently the Steelers in 1975 and Raiders in 1976 made it three straight NFL crowns for the two cities, one less than the four straight baseball crowns by the Pirates and A’s (1971-1975).



Penguins Parade But “Road” Clinch

While the Warriors finally clinched a title with a home win, not so for the Penguins, who paraded yesterday (A Penguins Parade, if you will), but have never clinched a title at home, despite having 5 NHL titles.

One day with better research, I will say for sure, but I am pretty certain no team in any of the four major North American sports leagues clinched their first and to this point, only titles on the road.

The city of Pittsburgh is a stellar (14-3) in title series/title games–all Supes, since the great 1927 New York Yankees (Lou Gehrig was born 114 years ago this upcoming Monday) swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1927 World Series.

Pittsburgh (Pirates) are  (5-2) in World Series play, (3-0) since 1927 and the last Pittsburgh title clincher at home was the Pirates’ great win in #7 1960 World Series. The Steelers are (6-2) in Supes, all won or lost at neutral sites. The Pens are (5-1) in Cup Final play, with the only title series ending in Pittsburgh being the Red Wings #6 clincher in ’08.



Both of last year’s basketball team runnersup, North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament and the Golden State Warriors are champions a year later, upon quick and likely accurate review, a first in 70 possibilities.

The NHL Penguins and NBA Warriors, who won 2 of those titles as the Philadelphia Warriors, each claimed their 5th crown, again most likely after quick review, the highest total of same year/same number titles in NHL/NBA annals.

At the moment three of the six champions (those 6 are from the four major North American sports leagues and college “pig”/football and basketball), were second best a season ago, Clemson winning vs defending champion Alabama after losing to them a year earlier.

In 1975, the New York Islanders stunned the Pittsburgh Penguins, overcoming a (3-0) quarterfinal series deficit, winning game 7 at Pittsburgh with Ed Westfall, scoring the lone goal. That year the Warriors were upstart NBA champions, having not even qualified for the NBA ‘offs the year before.

Last year, a night after the Pens claimed the title with a Sunday night game 6 road win, the Warriors both failed in that night’s game 5 and eventually lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 7 game NBA title series.

When the Islanders overcame the (3-0) deficit vs the Pens in ’75, they became just the second team in any major North american sports league to do so.

The only other team at that point to do so were the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs (vs the Detroit Red Wings in the 19″FORTY TWO” NHL final).

Now a year after the Pens win/Warriors lose juxtaposition of a year ago, and FORTY TWO years after the Warriors win/ Pens dissipate a (3-0) “quarters” lead situation, they are for the first time, respective league champions together.



Warriors Win It All

The Golden State Warriors, eight plus point favorites, won their second NBA title in three seasons, beating the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers (129-120), to win the series in 5 games.

Series MVP, Kevin Durant was brilliant scoring 39 points, while Steph Curry had 34 to pace the Warriors, as they clinched an NBA title in their West Coast home for the first time.

2015 title series MVP, Andre Iguodala contributed mightily, scoring 20 points. LeBron James led all scorers with 41 points, but where was he to stem the tide during a (28-4) Golden State run that put them well ahead? Alas during that period he had no points and more telling, took but two shots.

It is the third time the Warriors’ franchise won a crown in a game 5 home game, as both Philadelphia Warriors’ titles (1947 and 1956) were won in such a way.

Last year and it still hurts, the record breaking 73 win Warriors failed to repeat, just as the defending champion Warriors also failed, forty years earlier. The ’16 Warriors failed 60 years after the ’56 Philadelphia Warriors won it all.

Now 70 years after the Philadelphia Warriors won the first NBA crown, the Warriors under Steve Kerr (with help from ’07 Finals losing coach Mike Brown, then with the Cavs), who won his 7th title (5 as a player, now two as a coach) have won the NBA championship.






Pens Win It All

Patric Hornqvist scored a/THE goal with just 1:35 remaining in the third period, lifting the Pittsburgh Penguins to a victory at Nashville, vs the upstart 16th ranked Predators, that gives the Pens a second straight title, this one coming a year to the day on a Sunday night/Tony Awards night, in a game 6 road tilt, vs a team making its first NHL final appearance.

Last year, “Pitts” won at San Jose, on Tony Awards night and much like the great talent/performer Bette Midler, the Penguins refused to yield the “stage,” as hockey champions.

Their great player Sidney Crosby was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner for the second straight season, while goaltender Matt Murray notched his second straight shutout to close out a second Cup winning season, while still considered an NHL rookie player.

The city of Pittsburgh, now a pretty nifty (14-3) in major North American sports league’s final(s) (I am tempted to add the ’67-’68 Pittsburgh Pipers’ title in the first of 9 ABA seasons, but despite Connie Hawkins, I do not) since a truly great 1927 New York Yankees team wiped out the baseball Pirates in 4 straight World Series games, becomes I am pretty certain, the first city, to twice achieve as many as two straight titles from two different teams– the ’91 and ’92 Pens led by current team executive, Mario Lemieux, the awesome ’74 and ’75 then ’78 and ’79 Steelers both won 2 straight crowns.



Here’s one, the last Cup clinching game won by a road team that ended (2-0) also resulted in another Pennsylvania team, the 1975 Philadelphia Flyers winning a second straight crown, with a game 6 road win.

The last team to win a Cup clincher (2-0) was two years ago when Chicago (Blackhawks won vs Tampa Bay (Lightning) with Duncan “K”eith getting the Cup winner and Patrick “K”ane, who had the Cup winner for Chi in 2010, getting an insurance/other goal.

Philly, which has not titled since, won the ’75 crown at Buffalo vs the Sabres with same letter/first letter of first name players “B”ob or “B”attle Ship and “B”ill Clement scoring to “B”ack “B”ernie Parent’s shutout.

Last night’s Pitts goal scorers have last names starting with “H” the aforementioned monumental goal by “H”ornquivst and an empty net goal by Carl “H”agelin.

“M”urray is an “M,” brilliant in goal (Pekka Rinne in defeat again, allowed but one goal at home, the case in all 3 such tilts in the ’17 Final) but the “M”ight have been lament “M”ust (sorry for this, but having missed the Cup clincher for just the third time in its last 48 “presentations,” I am trying to get more out of it) surface, as a goal by #6 semis star, Colton Sissons of “Nash,” was disallowed as the official lost sight of the puck.

So different down (1-0), but hail the Pens and credit upstart Nashville.


NHL Update

Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins are roughly seven to five underdogs in their bid to clinch a second straight NHL crown, a year to the day after doing so with a road win in game 6 last year at San Jose.

The task is to win at Nashville where the home team Predators, like last year’s San Jose Sharks in their first NHL final, are (9-1) in these ‘offs and (12-1) in their last 13 home playoff tilts.

Pittsburgh has clinched all four of their previous titles on the road, almost surely the only team in major North American Sports league’s history to do so.



ABC Joy, Not Mine, Game 5 Monday Night

Seventy years ago, in the first NBA title series, the Warriors franchise, then in Philadelphia, did what these Golden State/Oakland Warriors did through the first four games, namely win the first three, before losing in game four, on the road.

The (1946-1947) Philadelphia Warriors led by Joe Fulks, captured the first NBA crown, winning game 5 vs the Chicago Stags, at home.

Maybe, even likely, maybe even very likely, (save the ABC power and the LeBron James power/greatness), these (2016-2017) Warriors will title at home, on or certainly near, this nation’s Pacific coast for the first time and in so doing win the franchise’s 5th title, in game 5 Monday night.

The Philadelphia Warriors as is the case with the G.S. Warriors have/had 2 crowns, Philadelphia also winning the 1956 title, clinching it in #5 at home.

Golden State won its 1975 title at Washington, in #4, to complete an incredible sweep, and clinched the 2015 title at Cleveland, in #6.

Since they did not go (16-0) and clinch at Cleveland last night, manifestations include, more travel for 50 plus years, Warriors fan, Bob and the/my fear ABC and the James/Irving Cavs will force a 6th and maybe even win the series, in which case James would become this country’s first king.


Joe Fulks, pictured above.