Art Rooney

Football Player + Executive + Owner
Born Jan 27, 1901

Arthur Joseph "Art" Rooney, Sr., often referred to as "The Chief", was the founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers American football franchise in the National Football League.

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1901 Birth Born on January 27, 1901.


1918 17 Years Old Rooney attended St. Peter's Catholic School in Pittsburgh, Duquesne University Prep School, then several semesters at Indiana Normal School before completing a final year at Temple University on an athletic scholarship. After graduation he dedicated himself to sports, winning the AAU welterweight belt in 1918 and tried out for the 1920 Olympic Team, he played minor league baseball for both the Flint, Michigan "Vehicles" and the Wheeling, West Virginia "Stogies".


1925 24 Years Old In 1925 he served as Wheeling's player-manager and led the Middle Atlantic League in games, hits, runs, stolen bases and finished 2nd in batting average as his brother Dan Rooney (Wheelings catcher that year) finished 3rd in BA.


…  He was the first president of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1933 to 1974, and the first chairman of the team from 1933 to 1988. … Read More
1936 35 Years Old In 1936, Rooney won a parlay at Saratoga Race Course, which netted him about $160,000. … Read More


1941 40 Years Old The winnings funded the team until 1941 when he sold the franchise to NY playboy Alex Thompson. … Read More
1946 45 Years Old Bell took the role of President of the Steelers that he relinquished to Rooney in 1946 when Bell became Commissioner. … Read More


1951 50 Years Old Nevertheless, Rooney was popular with owners as a mediator, which would carry over to his son Dan Rooney. He was the only owner to vote against moving the rights of the New York Yanks to Dallas, Texas after the 1951 season due to concerns of racism in the South at the time. (Ultimately, the Dallas Texans failed after one year, and the rights were moved to Baltimore, where the team became the Baltimore Colts.


1963 62 Years Old The team now plays in Indianapolis.) In 1963, along with Bears owner George Halas, Rooney was one of two owners to vote for the 1925 NFL Championship to be reinstated to the long-defunct Pottsville Maroons.
1964 63 Years Old In 1964, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. … Read More
1967 66 Years Old 1 More Event
As a pillar of the community in many aspects, Rooney was asked to lend his considerable influence in the city's bid to reclaim a NHL franchise during the league's expansion in 1967. Although Pittsburgh enjoyed championship hockey with the professional but "minor league" Pittsburgh Hornets since its NHL franchise (the Pirates hockey team) disbanded in 1930 from the effects of the Great Depression, many city leaders were pushing for the region to become more "major league" suggesting that Mr. Rooney use his influence in the sports industry to have the league award Pittsburgh a franchise.
1972 71 Years Old Rooney also acquired the Yonkers Raceway in 1972, the Palm Beach Kennel Club, Green Mountain Kennel Club in Vermont, Shamrock Stables in Maryland and owned the Liberty Bell Park Racetrack outside Philadelphia. … Read More
1982 81 Years Old Art J. Rooney was for 51 years, until her 1982 death, married to Kathleen Rooney née McNulty (1904–1982). … Read More
1987 86 Years Old An August 1987 Pittsburgh Press story stated that Rooney never missed a Hall of Fame induction ceremony in all 25 years, and that he was asked to present his third inductee, John Henry Johnson that month. … Read More
1988 88 Years Old Rooney died from complications of a stroke on August 25, 1988.
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