1965 National Champions

Games Record Win% RF RA Diff
104 41 - 63 0.394 599 677 -78

Joined 1947
First Tournament 1947
Last Tournament 1986
Franchise Status Defunct
   
Seasons 40
Regionals 15
Tournaments 32
   
Best Finish 1st
Worst Finish 16th
Average Finish 10th
DNQs 8
   
Upper Bracket 2
Lower Bracket 1

 

1st 1 Finalist 1
2nd  
3rd   At or above
500
11
4th 2
5th 2
6th 2
7th 4
8th  
9th 1 Below
500
21
10th 5
11th 3
12th 2
13th 1
14th 4
15th 3
16th+ 2

About Pittsburgh

The Steel City was a regular competitor in the AAABA for 40 years and won the 1965 championship. After steady performances through the first 30 years, the Pittsburgh clubs struggled through the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The first seasons were up-and-down for Pittsburgh. The inaugural 1947 team was represented by the McKees Rock Boys Club and finished 2-2 with wins over New Jersey and Harrisburg. The franchise also posted a 2-2 mark in 1949, but sandwiched this with two winless years.

The 1951 season introduced Johnstowners to Jim Rawe and his Beechview Legion club. They won 12 games over the next 6 years and finished in the Top 7 five times. They recorded wins over strong teams from Washington and Brooklyn, and also had wins over interstate rivals Altoona and Johnstown.

From 1957 to 1962, Pittsburgh and Altoona played a one-game play-in series to qualify for the national tournament, with Pittsburgh winning every year. However, their sucess did not continue into the national tournament, as the Beechviewers finished 10th or worst each year and managed only 4 wins in those 6 years. In 1963, the team missed their first tournament when they were eliminated in the finals of the Altoona regional by Birmingham.

In 1964, Rawe returned to Johnstown with the Beechview Merchants and placed a strong fifth. Their only two loses were both to eventual-champion Detroit.

The 1965 Merchants compiled a 36-3 record during the regular season and started the national tournament with four consecutive wins to remain as the only undefeated team. After opening with a 7-6 win over Washington on Wednesday, they won a Friday double-header over Altoona (3-0) and New York City (20-2). The fourth victory was against Detroit at Point Stadium, 5-3.

Washington scored a 7-4 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday to advance to the finals. Pittsburgh then knocked off the Detroit club for a second time, 10-7. In the finals at Point Stadium, the Merchants beat out Martz Insurance 5-4 for the franchise's first and only national championship.

Pittsburgh could not defend their title in 1966, falling to both Baltimore and Maryland State on the second day of competition and finishing 9th. After losing in the Altoona regional in 1967, the franchise was then represented by the Police Athletic League for four seasons and won 4 games in 3 tournaments.

In 1972, Norman Frey was the manager and Foerster's Atoms the representative. They finished 3-2 and placed 4th. It was the last time Pittsburgh would finish higher than 10th.

The final 13 years were underwhelming for Pittsburgh. Many different clubs represented the city, including a return of the Beechview Merchants, Davoli's Catering, Kennedy Township, Little Dodgers, and 20-28th Ward. The only wins, however, came one at a time in 1974, 1975, 1982, and 1984. Pittsburgh lost in regionals in 4 of their final 9 seasons. The franchise's final tournament victory was on opening day in 1984, a 5-4 decision over long-time foe Altoona at Point Stadium.


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