Move afoot to rename Vandergrift Bridge in honor of MLB's Rudy Minarcin
Rudy Minarcin may have spent his big league career in Cincinnati and Boston, but he’ll always be remembered in his hometown.
Borough resident Byron Brown has started a movement to rename the Vandergrift Bridge, spanning the Kiski River between the borough and Parks Township, in honor of the late Minarcin.
Minarcin led Vandergrift High School to the WPIAL baseball title in 1948 and pitched in the major leagues with the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox.
While with the Reds, he threw a one-hitter at Forbes Field against the Pirates in 1955.
Minarcin’s professional career started in 1948 with the Vandergrift Pioneers of the old Mid-Atlantic League.
His career was interrupted by military service but he returned and made the majors at age 25.
In the late 1950s, Minarcin pitched for the Havana Sugar Kings of the International League before Fidel Castro came to power and banned professional sports.
Brown presented Vandergrift Council last week with a petition signed by 10 percent of Vandergrift voters, as per state requirements.
Council President Kathy Chvala said council favors renaming the bridge.
According to Brown, Parks Township also supports the proposal. Minarcin actually lived in the North Vandergrift section of Parks and had a family business there.
Brown’s next move will be to get a state representative or senator to sponsor the proposal and hand it over to the state Transportation secretary for a decision.
Minarcin, an Alle-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame inductee, died in 2013.
George Guido is a freelance writer.