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The Pittsburgh Sports Mount Rushmore

Who are the best of the best in Pittsburgh sports (note: Wayne Gretzky not included)

2017 NHL Awards And Expansion Draft Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Penguins twitter had an interesting prompt yesterday in conjunction with the team’s “Pittsburgh themed” game last night.

Based on the qualifications they list, to me there is a very clear and very right sequence that there’s not too much debate about. But, this is the internet so there’s always a contrarian about everything so let’s give it a go.

Pirates - Roberto Clemente

Pittsburgh Pirates Outfielder Roberto Clemente

My father, like everyone who spent the 1960’s and ‘70s in Pittsburgh, talks about Roberto Clemente as if he were a member of our immediate family. That’s pretty incredible considering my dad doesn’t even talk about some members of our family as if they were in our family.

The legend of Clemente, even now 48 years after his death, is still that strong. 3,000 career hits. 15 time MLB all-star. 2 time World Series champion. World Series MVP. 12 time gold glove. Cannon arm. Magnificent grace and charm that extended well beyond the field to devoting himself to helping others. When I think of “what’s a Pittsburgh Pirate”, simply put it’s gotta be Clemente. It’s also sort of sadly fitting that the Pirates’ contribution is a memory of the past, because that seemingly where their glory days will remain.

Maaaybe you could also make a case for [mainly listed in chronological order]: Honus Wagner, Ralph Kiner, Willie Stargell, Barry Bonds

Steelers: “Mean” Joe Greene

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Colts

Mean Joe Greene was the key cog in the Steel Curtain, the most important and impactful dynasty in Pittsburgh history. Greene was the beginning of it all as the newly hired Chuck Noll’s first draft choice that helped turn a moribund franchise into a four time Super Bowl champion in short order. Many consider Greene the best defensive player in the NFL over the course of the 1970’s, and again, that’s the kind of hard-hitting and smash-mouth toughness that has persisted in reputation for “Steeler football” up to this day. (Well, to an extent, anyways).

Maaaybe you could also make a case for [mainly listed in chronological order]: Terry Bradshaw, Jack Lambert, Mel Blount, Rod Woodson, Charlie Batch, Hines Ward, Ben Roethlisberger...Or maybe think a bit outside of the box and say Art Rooney and that wouldn’t be a bad answer

Penguins - Mario Lemieux

Lemieux Parades The Cup Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

Though Sidney Crosby is inching ever-closer, Mario Lemieux still remains almost 700 points and about two franchise saving moments behind his former landlord. No need to over-think it, there’s simply no more Penguins in Pittsburgh without the efforts of Mario Lemieux. But this is a Penguins’ blog, you don’t need to be reminded of all that.

Maaaybe you could also make a case for: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jaromir Jagr

Pittsburgh icon - Mr. Rogers

U.S. Postal Service Dedicates Mister Rogers Forever Stamp Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

This one is a little more open-ended, but what could be more iconic than Mr. Rogers? A staple in so many’s childhoods over the years. And now with a recent resurgence in the form of a Tom Hanks movie, the lessons he taught are getting more run these days.

Maaaybe you could also make a case for: Andy Warhol, Kurt Angle (won an Olympic gold medal with a broken freakin neck!), Mark Cuban, Andrew Carnagie, putting fries on sandwiches or anything for that matter, cookie tables, the Terrible Towel, wearing a Steelers jersey to church the morning of a big game, sitting on a lawnchair in your driveway/garage and drinking beers, not proceeding through an intersection when a light turns green to allow oncoming traffic to make a left turn.

If you have any comments or changes for this list, I suppose I will hear it, but I’m not too sure I could be convinced this isn’t the perfect Pittsburgh Mount Rushmore, given the qualifications listed.