This article was originally published in the October 30, 1971 issue of The Sporting News.
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania – Pirate fans waited 11 years to celebrate a World Series win and spoiled the celebration with their exuberance.
Approximately 100,000 people flocked to downtown Pittsburgh on Sunday, October 17, from every neighborhood, from every suburb, and from places 50 to 120 kilometers away.
These included families with children, young mothers with babies in their arms, seniors, and groups of teenagers and students.
Rowdy revelers broke the windows of about 20 stores, overturned three taxis, and set one on fire. They broke hundreds of beer bottles on streets and flooded important junctions with hydrants.
“It was a huge rush,” said Police Inspector Peter Pollice. “There has been some damage to businesses that have gone down, and some looting, but not too much.”
He only described the scene as “a mass of humanity. To tell the truth, we didn’t expect such a big crowd and weren’t prepared for it. “
Police sergeant Richard Kennedy said 69 people were arrested during the downtown celebrations, ranging from drunkenness to disorderly behavior.
“The vast majority of them have been fired,” said Kennedy.
“No baseball audience”
A police sergeant who said he was “in the thick of it” said, “It was an unruly crowd, and it wasn’t a baseball crowd either. 90 percent of the time I’ll never have seen a baseball game. “
Allegheny General Hospital, across a bridge from downtown, treated “between 30 and 35 people for cuts, bruises, bumps, sprains and strains,” said a nurse.
The other downtown hospital, Mercy Hospital, reported “about 35 people” being treated in the emergency room. All were released.
The daughter of pirate manager Danny Murtaugh, Mrs. Kathleen Walton, was examined at Mercy Hospital. Hospital officials said Ms. Walton was scared in her sixth month of pregnancy when fans jumped on the hood of the motorcade car she was driving in.
The hell lift began a few seconds after the World Series finale. Drivers honked their horns all over the area. From the University of Pittsburgh dormitories, floods of paper streamed into the streets.
An estimated 20,000 people drove to the airport and besieged the pirates as they got off their plane. It took the police an hour to start the pirate motorcade. Plans for a slow parade and official welcoming ceremony in the city center have been canceled. The pirates were swept along a shortened route through the city in a fast motorcade to howling sirens.