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1979 WS Trophy in doubt?


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The Pirates it seems (as well as Duquesne Univ., Univ. of Pittsburgh, and the Steelers) donated some of their collections to the old Allegheny Sports Club that had their clubhouse suites at the old Three Rivers Stadium, seems the club disbanded WITH the hardware still in hand and sought by its creditors. The biggest bling though is the 1979 World Series Trophy from the Pirates all the other items are priceless for sure but nothing outstanding. Pirates--and the other teams--claim they were on loan to the club for display purposes only. Gonna be interesting how this turns out. I PROMISE though if I'm the winning bid all of you are invited to come view the 1979 Trophy at my place :thumbsup:

"Court to hear Pirates' motion on sale of trophy

Attempt to halt sale begins Tuesday

Saturday, March 26, 2005


Untangling the history and the ownership of the 1979 Pirates World Series trophy and other local sports memorabilia could get complicated, but the direction of the pursuit could be decided Tuesday.

That's when U.S. Bankruptcy Court Chief Judge M. Bruce McCullough will preside over a hearing on a motion filed this week by the Pirates to temporarily halt the sale of the items.

The trophy and many other pieces -- much of it from the Pirates' Forbes Field era, but also including Steelers, Pitt and other memorabilia -- is slated to be sold to pay debts owed by the Allegheny Club, which last year emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and merged with the Harvard-Yale-Princeton Club to become the Allegheny HYP Club.

There is a high bid on record of $100,000 by an unnamed out-of-state buyer, although no formal sale has begun.

In their motion, the Pirates ask that the items be turned over to the ballclub immediately. Bankruptcy court records show that the 359 pieces in the collection are worth an estimated $126,600. The 1979 trophy is valued at $25,000.

Scott Hare, the attorney representing the Allegheny HYP Club, declined comment. Stanley Ference, president of the club's board, has said the club hopes the 1979 trophy stays in Pittsburgh.

Team spokeswoman Patty Paytas yesterday said the Pirates are most concerned about the World Series trophy. It went on display this week at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, and the team is worried it might be whisked away by a private collector.

If the Pirates' motion is upheld, the legal wrangling over ownership could begin. The sticking point is whether the items were given to the Allegheny Club or loaned to it. The club was housed in Three Rivers Stadium until that venue was torn down.

Doug McCormick, the Pirates' treasurer from 1970-85 and a former member of the Allegheny Club board, said it was his understanding that the members-only restaurant and club owned three pieces outright from a deal struck when Forbes Field was torn down -- a narrow section of the center-field wall, part of the scoreboard and some seats.

"It was always my belief that any other items from both the Pirates and the Steelers were put on display at the club on loan," said McCormick, adding that to his knowledge the 1979 trophy was never listed as a tax deduction by the Galbreath family who owned the Pirates then, indicating to McCormick that the Galbreaths never intended to donate the trophy.

John and then Dan Galbreath, both deceased, owned the Pirates from 1946-85. Squire Galbreath, son of Dan and grandson of John, said that in 2001, the year Three Rivers was razed, he sent a letter to the Allegheny Club that referred to the items as "donated," stated that they should somehow remain on display and that in return he wanted 11 large metal plates from the scoreboard.

"I only used the term 'donated' because a guy I had talked to was adamant that the things were donated, but I was in college in 1980 and I wouldn't have known if they were donated or loaned," Squire Galbreath said. "But I never got those 11 plates, so there was no deal. I could never reach them on the phone after that."

If the Pirates' motion is denied and the sale moves forward, there could be an intense bidding war.

Sean Hamel, spokesman for Royal Sport in New York, said the online casino is a multibillion-dollar business and would outbid everyone, then donate the 1979 trophy to the Pirates or the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.

"We hate to see any team lose what is rightfully theirs," Royal Sport managing director Kevin Ming said in a statement.

Royal Sport previously stated an intention to buy the 1919 Babe Ruth contract when he was sent from Boston to the Yankees, invoking the Curse of the Bambino. It is set to be auctioned this year by Sotheby's, and Royal Sport intends to donate it to the Red Sox "who can dispose of the curse as they see fit," the gambling company said in its statement.

In addition to the dozens of Pirates items in the Allegheny HYP Club collection, there are many Steelers pieces, mostly photos, plus pictures pertaining to Pitt and Duquesne football, the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords Negro League teams, golfer Arnold Palmer and general Pittsburgh history.

Spokesmen for the Steelers and Pitt said they were unaware of the memorabilia in question or whether those organizations might stake a claim to any of the items."

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