1934 Pittsburgh Pirates Season Preview

7 District Stars Start for Corsairs

Virtually ‘New’ Team Opens Pro Season at Forbes Field


Passes Likely to Play Important Part in Deciding Winner.

By Fred Landucci

A truly Pittsburgh professional football team, which officials and fans hope had grown from an infirm infant to full statue in a year opens the 1934 season at 3 p.m. this afternoon on the Forbes Field Turf against the Cincinnati Reds in a National Professional League game.

It will not be recognised as anything like last year’s outfit. The 1934 Pirates, collectively, is a rangier and faster type than his squat and bulky predecessor of 1933.

Yet to Pittsburghers, at least, the new Pirates will be far more familiar than last fall’s team. Because it’s made up mainly of district stars who treated fans to innumerable thrills in collegiate football.

Seven district players are sprinkled on the starting lineup. Nine others are among the reserves. All but two won their spurs as collegiate stars, and what they will do in the pro game provides a point of interest.

New Bucs Carry Appeal

For that reason the Pirates carry far more appeal than the heretofore. Another is that Luby DiMeolo, former Pitt star, who makes his bow as a professional grid coach promises something in the way of diverse plays.

To further wipe out all traces of the former team, Luby has instigated a new system. The two-wing back mode, which proved so ineffective last year, has been scrapped. In its stead, the Pirates will display an offensive originating from a one-wing back or short kick formation.

The team that DiMeolo has selected shows John Oehler, Purdue star, as the only holdover. He will start at center. The guards will be Greeney, Notre Dame and Marchi, New York University.

‘Muggsy at End’

Two well known locals will take care of the tackles, Jess Quatse, former Pitt All-Americam and Armaud Niccolai, Duquesne’s big and handsome contribution; the ends, a weak point last year, look like the strongest this fall with Muggsy Skladany , Pitt All- American, to take care of one terminal and “Big Ben” Smith from Alabama, stationed at the other.

The 160-pound Harp Vaughan, night club owner, will start at quarterback, but will probably give way to Rado of New River. “Pin” Heller, Pitt All American, and George Kavel, Carnegie Tech ace, will be the fullbacks and Sil Zaninelli of Duquesne the fullback.

Watch ‘Pin’ Heller

Only one thing is needed – a great runner. Efforts of President Art Rooney to secure one failed. Yet there may be one hidden among the Pirates. Don’t be surprised if it turns out to be Heller.

In two game warm up games, Heller has run wild despite non effective interference. When the forwards take care of their duties one might be treated to the pleasant sight of seeing Heller, the ball carrier, eclipse Hell the passer and defensive star.

The air out at Forbes Field will probably be filled with footballs. Both teams have developed excellent passing attacks, as this offense has proved the most successful in pro play.

A brilliant receiver has been uncovered by the Bucs in Ben Smith, and the success or failure of the combination, “Heller to Smith,” will figure largely in the outcome of the game.

Both the Pirates and Reds won but three games last fall, but their prospects this year are for a much better season.

Sees Great Season

One of the most interested spectators at the game will be President of the league, Joe Carr. He has just made a tour of the pro camps and sees the greatest professional season since the start of the league.

“From what I’ve seen, the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants, who played for the title last year, will have to be much better to do it again this year,” Carr said. “The weaker teams have all been strengthened.”

Taken from the September 9th 1934 edition of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

The writer's optimism was misplaced. Although the Steelers won their first game 13-0, they finished the season 2-10.