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A Very Controversial Pittsburgh Sports Mount Rushmore

Hold onto your seats, boomers. You may not like this list as it won’t include guys from the old days like Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, or Joe Greene. Those guys are all great and deserving, so surely they’d be on your Pittsburgh Sports Mount Rushmore. I just didn’t get to see them play personally and didn’t get the full dose of their greatness. On this Mount Rushmore, I highlight some guys who have changed the landscape of Pittsburgh sports in my lifetime.

Mario Lemieux

This one is obvious, right? Super Mario should be on everyone's Pittsburgh Sports Mount Rushmore. Mario Lemieux made this city fall in love with hockey, and although it wasn’t originally where he wanted to be, he fell in love with the city and has been regarded as a king in Pittsburgh ever since being the first-overall pick in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

Since then? He’s won the Stanley Cup twice, the Ted Lindsay Award four times, the Hart Trophy three times, the Art Ross Trophy six times, and the Conn Smythe twice. Mario led the NHL in points six times throughout his career and is second all-time in hat tricks and points per game with 1.88.

Mario played all 17 of his NHL seasons in Pittsburgh before transitioning into an ownership role with the Penguins. Not only was he potentially one of the best athletes in Pittsburgh history, he helped save the Penguins from moving to Kansas City a handful of years ago when the Penguins were not sure about a new arena. Today, Fenway Sports Group owns the Penguins but has proclaimed that Mario can be as involved as he wants.

Sidney Crosby

Mario’s protege, Sidney Crosby is the prince who was promised. Pittsburgh struck gold when they got the kid from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Crosby has changed the entire landscape of the Penguins, lifting three Stanley Cups and counting in his 18 seasons. Crosby doesn’t get the love he deserves in the national media these days as they have new shiny toys to clamor over like Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, and now Connor Bedard who gets to make his NHL debut against his childhood idol Sidney Crosby here soon.

Crosby will easily be a first-ballot Hall Of Famer whenever he decides to hang it up, but he’s still going strong. He just turned 36 years old and is coming off a great season that saw him play all 82 games, posting 93 points with 33 goals and 60 assists. Crosby has won the Hart Trophy, Art Ross, and the Rocket Richard twice, the Pearson Award three times, and the Conn Smythe twice. He even won the Mark Messier Award in 2009-10.

The first-overall pick in 2005 has had great longevity and like Mario, had some time robbed from him due to injury. Sid has lived up to every bit of hype that was behind him. He’s even exceeded them. One of the most impressive things about Crosby? He’s somehow an even better person than he is a hockey player. Thanks for everything, Sid.

Ben Roethlisberger

Here’s where you might push back. You might say Terry Bradshaw should be here instead, and while Bradshaw was great, He couldn’t hold Big Ben’s jock strap. Partially due to playing in different generations, Roethlisberger is just objectively the better quarterback.

Big Ben leads the Steelers franchise in every passing stat you can think of. The 11th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft was a key piece to Pittsburgh bringing home two Sticky Lombardi Trophies and although he maybe should’ve had a couple more to put on his shelf, two is still great. Big Ben played 249 NFL games all as a Steeler. He finished his career with a record of 165-81-1 and maybe stuck around a little longer than he should’ve, but maybe that’s a good thing as it led us into the Kenny Pickett era in Pittsburgh. Big Ben retiring early may have led us into the Mason Rudolph era a few years back, yuck. You’re a great guy, Mason. Just don’t want you starting games.

Andrew McCutchen

Another one that Yinz might not agree with, Andrew McCutchen has been the heartbeat of a Pirates organization that hasn’t had a pulse for the better half of 50 years. His first stint in Pittsburgh from 2009-2017 was electric. The 2013 National League MVP was Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh loved him as much as he loved us. Now that he’s finally back, and should’ve never been shipped out in the first place, things feel right when Cutch is in the 412.

His first stint in Pittsburgh saw him play 1,346 games in the black and gold. Cutch registered 1,463 hits and 203 home runs which is ironic that he’s now closing in on 300 home runs today. Cutch appeared in five All-Star games for the Pirates from 2011 to 2015 and was potentially snubbed this season. Hopefully, Andrew and the Pirates can work things out to keep him here for the rest of his career, as he is great for the young guys and still has some gas in his tank. Like many Yinzers, my love for the Pirates came back when Cutch came home. Things still aren’t great over there at PNC Park, but hopefully, they figure it out soon.

Now that we’ve discussed some of my All-time Pittsburgh Greats, who would you put on your Pittsburgh Sports Mt. Rushmore? So many options on every team. As I previously stated, my list only includes guys that I got to watch. Maybe your list includes some other guys that I would love to hear about.

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