Historical Society program examines Latrobe’s claims to pro football fame | TribLIVE.com

Historical Society program examines Latrobe’s claims to pro football fame

Jeff Himler
Latrobe Area Historical Society
The Latrobe Athletic Association squad, seen in 1897, is cited as the first professional football team with all paid players.
Latrobe Area Historical Society
The Latrobe Athletic Association squad, seen in 1897, is cited as the first pro football team with all paid players.

“Latrobe: Home of Professional Football… or are we?” is the question considered in a themed slide show of images from local gridiron history that will be screened Friday and Saturday by the Latrobe Area Historical Society.

Doors open at 9 a.m. each day, and the show begins at 9:30 a.m., at the historical society headquarters and museum, 416 Weldon St. in Latrobe.

The show will offer answers to football questions that have stirred controversy, including: Who was the first professional football player? and Why is the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio?

The NFL for years upheld the idea that professional football got its start in Latrobe on Sept. 3, 1895, when John Brallier was paid $10 and expenses to quarterback the Latrobe YMCA team in its 6-0 victory over Jeannette.

The society program includes a photo of “The Chief” Art Rooney Sr., then president of the Steelers, taking part in the 1960 dedication of a plaque recognizing Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium as the “Birthplace of Professional Football.”

An expense accounting sheet for the Allegheny Athletic Association, surfacing decades after the fact, has since advanced the arrival of the first paid football player to 1892, at Recreation Field in what is now Pittsburgh’s North Side.

Latrobe still has an early football milestone it can claim, according to historical society President Mary Lou Townsend. The Latrobe Athletic Association is credited with fielding the first all-paid team of players.

At least, according to a timeline on the Pro Football Hall of Fame website, the Latrobe squad is recognized as the first team of professionals to play a full season of games — in 1897. The site indicates that the Allegheny Athletic Association fielded a pro team, for just two games, a year earlier.

“We have the first professional football team, if not the first individual player,” Townsend said.

The shows are free, but donations are appreciated. Parking on Friday is on the street. Those attending Saturday’s show may park in the lot at Kelly, Sparber & White, on the corner of Weldon and Alexandria streets.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.