Sports in Pennsylvania

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sports in Pennsylvania includes numerous professional sporting teams, events, and venues located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia Eagles are presented with the Vince Lombardi Trophy following Super Bowl LII, February 4, 2018

Major league professional teams[edit]

Pennsylvania is home to eight teams from the five major American professional sports leagues.

Club League Division Venue Location Founded Titles in Pa.
Philadelphia 76ers NBA Atlantic Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia 1946 2
Philadelphia Eagles NFL NFC East Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia 1933 4
Philadelphia Flyers NHL Metropolitan Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia 1967 2
Philadelphia Phillies MLB NL East Citizens Bank Park Philadelphia 1883 2
Philadelphia Union MLS Eastern Subaru Park Chester 2010 0
Pittsburgh Pirates MLB NL Central PNC Park Pittsburgh 1881 5
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Metropolitan PPG Paints Arena Pittsburgh 1967 5
Pittsburgh Steelers NFL AFC North Heinz Field Pittsburgh 1933 6

Major league professional championships[edit]


Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia has been the home field of the Philadelphia Eagles since 2003
Heinz Field in the North Shore neighborhood of Pittsburgh has been the home field of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2001

Football is the most popular sport in Pennsylvania, especially in the Lehigh Valley, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Central Pennsylvania, and Western Pennsylvania. Western Pennsylvania in particular was home to some of the earliest moments in football history, and the earliest professional clubs played in the Western Pennsylvania Professional Football Circuit. Pudge Heffelfinger was the first known professional football player, while John Brallier was the first openly professional player. The Allegheny Athletic Association fielded the first entirely openly professional team in 1896.[1] In 1902, three Pennsylvania teams founded the National Football League (which has no ties to today's NFL), the first attempt at a national professional football league. Jim Thorpe, a multi-sport athlete who played in the NFL and won Olympic gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon, attended Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania is named after him.

Today, football is popular on all levels, from high school, college, and professionally. The high school games get regular attention in the local newspapers and games regularly draw over 10,000 fans. Pennsylvania produces several college and professional players every year, and Western Pennsylvania is noted for being the home of numerous quarterbacks, including Dan Marino, Joe Montana, and Johnny Unitas.

Professionally, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL are also hugely popular. Both franchises entered the NFL in 1933, and the two franchises briefly merged during World War II. Both teams have fan bases across the entire state, and in the case of the Steelers, are one of the most popular sports teams in the United States, if not the world. (This is likely due to that team's dominance in the NFL during the 1970s.) While the Eagles are not quite as popular as the Steelers outside Pennsylvania, they still maintain a passionate fan base in the Philadelphia area and across the United States as they are one of the more popular teams in the NFL. Often one of the most rowdy in the NFL, the Eagles fanbase is known for their passion and dedication. In fact, the Eagles' old home field, Veterans Stadium, was the first sports stadium in the United States to have a jail cell as a result of the rowdiness of the fans, but was removed only a couple years later after incidents settled down. Both fanbases though are considered to be among the best traveled fanbases in the NFL. During games in which the teams are on the road, Steelers fans and Eagles fans alike migrate to the opposing team's stadium and always have a strong presence, and in some cases, their numbers have made opposing teams feel as if they are not in their home stadium—a testament to the die-hard fanbases of professional football in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has also been home to two defunct NFL franchises, both of which played in the 1920s. The Pottsville Maroons played in Pottsville, Pennsylvania; the franchise is notable for its part in the 1925 NFL Championship controversy. Frankford (a neighborhood in Philadelphia) also briefly had its own team in the 1920s, known as the Frankford Yellow Jackets. The team won the 1926 NFL Championship, but disbanded during the Great Depression. A third NFL franchise, the Dallas Texans, was briefly headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania during the 1952 season. Pennsylvania also had teams in four national leagues that competed with the NFL: the 1920s AFL, the 1930s AFL, the World Football League, and the USFL.

Philadelphia was also home to an Arena Football League team, the Philadelphia Soul who played in the league from 2004 to 2019. Pittsburgh was also the home to one of the founding Arena Football League franchises, the Pittsburgh Gladiators. After four seasons in Pittsburgh, the team moved to Tampa, Florida, in 1991 and became the Tampa Bay Storm. Pittsburgh got another AFL team in 2011, the Pittsburgh Power, which folded in 2014. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers played in the AFL's minor league af2 until that league disbanded in 2009.

In addition to NFL and arena football teams, Pennsylvania is also home to minor professional teams from numerous other leagues. Men's teams include the Chambersburg Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Colts. There are also several women's football teams, including the Keystone Assault, Pittsburgh Passion, and Philadelphia Firebirds.


The Philadelphia Phillies play the New York Mets, their division rival, at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia, September 2017

Baseball is one of the more popular sports in Pennsylvania. The state has both major league and minor league baseball teams. The two major league baseball teams in Pennsylvania are the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phillies and the Pirates are two of the eight National League franchises that originated in the nineteenth century. As such, the Phillies and the Pirates have had a rivalry for over one hundred years. The rivalry was particularly strong during the 1970s and 1980s, when the two teams frequently competed to win the National League East. The rivalry has cooled off since the Pirates moved to the NL Central in 1994, but the two teams continue to play each other every year. Although the Pirates have won more World Series (five in total), the Phillies won the World Series more recently (in 2008). Both teams have had stretches of success and futility. Pennsylvania is the only state with two teams that are in the same league (National League) but in separate divisions (Pittsburgh in the NL Central and Philadelphia in the NL East).

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were also the home of numerous defunct and relocated major league franchises, including the American League's Philadelphia Athletics, which moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in the 1950s. The franchise now plays in Oakland, California, as the Oakland Athletics. Pittsburgh briefly hosted a second major league team in the 20th century: the Pittsburgh Rebels played in the Federal League during the fledgling league's two seasons of existence. Altoona also had a short-lived team in the 19th century Union Association. Prior to the integration of Major League Baseball that occurred after World War II, both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh had negro league baseball teams.

Pennsylvania is the original home of Little League Baseball. In 1939, Carl Stotz founded Little League Baseball in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Little League World Series is held every year in South Williamsport.

Minor league baseball[edit]

As of 2021, Pennsylvania has nine minor league baseball teams. Six of these teams are affiliates of major league teams, while the remaining teams are independent. Pennsylvania has also been home to minor leagues and minor league teams that are now defunct, such as the Pennsylvania State Association and the Allentown Peanuts. Pennsylvania is also home to two teams in the new MLB Draft League, the State College Spikes and the Williamsport Crosscutters

Geographic name Team Stadium Est.[2] Level League Affiliation
Lehigh Valley IronPigs Coca-Cola Park 2008 Triple-A International League Philadelphia Phillies
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders PNC Field 1989 Triple-A International League New York Yankees
Altoona Curve Peoples Natural Gas Field 1999 Double-A Double-A Northeast Pittsburgh Pirates
Erie SeaWolves UPMC Park 1995 Double-A Double-A Northeast Detroit Tigers
Harrisburg Senators FNB Field 1987 Double-A Double-A Northeast Washington Nationals
Reading Fightin Phils FirstEnergy Stadium 1967 Double-A Double-A Northeast Philadelphia Phillies
Lancaster Barnstormers Clipper Magazine Stadium 2003 N/A Atlantic League Independent
York Revolution WellSpan Park 2006 N/A Atlantic League Independent
Washington Wild Things Wild Things Park 1997 N/A Frontier League Independent


Unlike the other major professional sports leagues, the National Basketball Association only has one team in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia 76ers, which relocated from Syracuse, New York, in 1963, have won three NBA championships and, as of 2018, the franchise has won the fifth most championship games in NBA history (tied with the Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat). Philadelphia also hosted another NBA team from 1946 to 1962, the Philadelphia Warriors, but the franchise moved to San Francisco and later became what is now known as the Golden State Warriors.

Pittsburgh briefly had a team in the Basketball Association of America known as the Pittsburgh Ironmen, and an American Basketball Association franchise called the Pittsburgh Condors, but no NBA franchise has ever called Pittsburgh home.

In addition to the 76ers, Pennsylvania also has a few other professional basketball teams. The Erie BayHawks are an NBA G League team affiliated with the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans. This team will play in Erie until moving to its intended permanent home of Birmingham, Alabama, in 2022. The Steel City Yellow Jackets play in the ABA. The Harrisburg Horizon are a member of the Eastern Basketball Alliance, while the Harrisburg Lady Horizon are a member of the Women's Eastern Basketball Alliance.

Pennsylvania has never had a team in the Women's National Basketball Association, the top women's basketball league in the United States.

The Philadelphia area has produced NBA players such as Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, and Paul Arizin, while Pete Maravich was from Aliquippa.

Ice hockey[edit]

The PPL Center in Allentown home to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, the primary development hockey team of the Philadelphia Flyers

Due in large part to Pennsylvania's cold winter climate and the state's geographic location in the Northeast, hockey is fairly popular throughout Pennsylvania. In all, seven professional hockey teams call Pennsylvania home, including two NHL teams.

Perhaps the strongest current in-state professional sports rivalry is between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, both of which play in the Metropolitan Division of the NHL. With the exception of a seven-year period in the 1970s, the two teams have been divisional rivals since they joined the NHL in the 1967 expansion. The rivalry is generally considered to be one of the fiercest in the NHL.[3][4] The two franchises have been among the most successful teams since they joined the league, as the Flyers have the most Stanley Cup Finals appearances among the non-Original Six teams, while the Penguins are tied for the third most Stanley Cup wins among non-Original Six teams.

The Hershey Bears are renowned for being the oldest existing AHL franchise, and the oldest existing hockey franchise outside of the NHL's Original Six. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms, also of the AHL, are the primary development team of the Philadelphia Flyers and play their home games at PPL Center in Allentown.

Pennsylvania is notable for being one of the few states with a team in the Canadian Hockey League, and the state was also home to the Western Pennsylvania Hockey League, one of the first professional hockey leagues. In addition to the two current NHL teams that joined the league in the 1960s, Pennsylvania also had an NHL franchise in the 1920s: a hockey team named the Pirates played in the NHL for five seasons before moving to Philadelphia and becoming the Philadelphia Quakers. The franchise disbanded after its only season in Philadelphia. Philadelphia also briefly had a WHA franchise.

A number of notable current and former professional hockey players are Pennsylvania natives: Mike Richter, one of the most successful American-born goaltenders in NHL history; Pete Babando; Bob Beers; Jay Caufield; Ryan Malone; Gerry O'Flaherty; George Parros; Jesse Spring; and R.J. Umberger. Legendary amateur hockey player Hobey Baker, namesake of U.S. college hockey's Hobey Baker Memorial Award, was also born in Pennsylvania.

Minor league & major junior hockey[edit]

Geographic name Team Stadium Est.[2] League Affiliation[5]
Erie Otters Erie Insurance Arena 1996 OHL
Hershey Bears Giant Center 1932 AHL Washington Capitals
Johnstown Tomahawks 1st Summit Bank Arena 1990 NAHL
Lehigh Valley Phantoms PPL Center 2014 AHL Philadelphia Flyers
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza 1999 AHL Pittsburgh Penguins
Reading Royals Santander Arena 1991 ECHL Philadelphia Flyers


Subaru Park in Chester is the home field of the Philadelphia Union, Philadelphia's Major League Soccer team

Pennsylvania has three active professional outdoor soccer teams. Since 2010, Chester, Pennsylvania has been home to the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer, the top league in the US Soccer Pyramid. Additionally, Pennsylvania has two teams in the second-tier USL Championship (previously the United Soccer League), Philadelphia Union II and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. Both are the official reserve sides for MLS teams, respectively the Union and Columbus Crew SC. The state had a third team in the USL Championship, the Harrisburg-based Penn FC, but that team suspended professional operations for the 2019 season and ultimately folded. Pennsylvania also has several indoor soccer and amateur teams, including the Harrisburgh Heat of the Major Arena Soccer League, Reading United A.C. and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds U23 of USL League Two (formerly the Premier Development League), and numerous teams in the National Premier Soccer League. Pennsylvania also women's teams, including the Lancaster Inferno of the Women's Premier Soccer League. As of 2020, Pennsylvania does not have a team in the top-level women's league, the National Women's Soccer League.

Pennsylvania has a long history with soccer. The first professional American soccer league, the American League of Professional Football, included a team named the "Philadelphia Phillies" (all of the teams were affiliated with National League baseball teams). The original Bethlehem Steel won championships in the National Association Football League and the American Soccer League. Despite disbanding in the 1930s, the club still shares the record (with Maccabi Los Angeles) for most U.S. Open Cup wins, with five. The North American Soccer League, which was perhaps the most prominent American soccer league until the formation of Major League Soccer, had two teams in Pennsylvania: the Philadelphia Atoms and the Philadelphia Fury.

Pennsylvania-based clubs have captured the U.S. Open Cup a total of 14 times, the third-most among states, and Pennsylvania teams have won the National Amateur Cup several times. Pennsylvania has also been home to numerous soccer players, including Walter Bahr, the captain of the U.S. national team at the 1950 FIFA World Cup.

Minor league soccer[edit]

Geographic name Team Stadium Est.[2] League
Philadelphia Union II Subaru Park 2015 USLC Philadelphia Union
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Highmark Stadium 1998 USLC Independent
Lehigh Valley Lehigh Valley United Sonic Moravian College 2009 USL 2 Independent
Reading United AC Don Thomas Stadium 1996 USL 2 Philadelphia Union
Drexel Hill Junior Lone Star FC Monsignor Bonner High School 2001 NPSL Independent
Electric City Shock SC Fitzpatrick Field 2013 NPSL Independent
Fort Pitt Regiment Thomas J. Birko Memorial Field 2013 NPSL Independent
Hershey Hershey FC Hershey High School 2013 NPSL Independent
Perkasie Buxmont Torch FC Pennridge High School 2010 NPSL Independent
Erie Commodores FC McConnell Family Stadium 2009 NPSL Independent
Philadelphia Fury Richard Wackar Stadium 2014 ASL Independent
Lancaster Lions Manheim Township Athletic Complex 2015 ASL Independent
Lancaster Inferno Pucillo Field 2008 UWS Independent
Lancaster Torch FC Lancaster Mennonite School 2016 WPSL Independent

College teams[edit]

There are fourteen NCAA Division I schools spread across Pennsylvania. In addition to the Division I schools listed below, there are also several other college athletic programs in Pennsylvania.

School Team Est. Type Location Varsity Sports Conference[6] Football
Bucknell University Bison 1846 Private Lewisburg 25 Patriot League FCS
Drexel University Dragons 1878 Private Philadelphia 18 CAA No
Duquesne University Dukes 1891 Catholic Pittsburgh 16 Atlantic 10 FCS
Lafayette College Leopards 1826 Private Easton 23 Patriot League FCS
La Salle University Explorers 1863 Catholic Philadelphia 20 Atlantic 10 No
Lehigh University Mountain Hawks 1865 Private Bethlehem 23 Patriot League FCS
University of Pennsylvania Quakers 1740 Private Philadelphia 27 Ivy League FCS
Pennsylvania State University Nittany Lions 1855 Public University Park 29 Big Ten FBS
University of Pittsburgh Panthers 1787 Public Pittsburgh 19 ACC FBS
Robert Morris University Colonials 1921 Private Moon Township 16 Horizon League FCS
Saint Francis University Red Flash 1847 Catholic Loretto 22 Northeast Conference FCS
Saint Joseph's University Hawks 1851 Catholic Philadelphia 20 Atlantic 10 No
Temple University Owls 1884 Public Philadelphia 19 The American FBS
Villanova University Wildcats 1842 Catholic Villanova 24 Big East FCS

Pennsylvania is home to several prominent collegiate rivalries. The Penn State–Pittsburgh football rivalry began in the 19th century, and was once considered one of the most important rivalries north of the Mason–Dixon line.[7] Although the two schools have not played as frequently since Penn State and Pittsburgh joined football conferences in the 1990s, the rivalry between the two schools continues to divide the state. The Philadelphia Big 5 play a basketball round robin every year to determine the top basketball school in the Philadelphia area. Pittsburgh is also home to a heated basketball rivalry, as Duquesne and Pittsburgh play each other every year in the City Game. The Lehigh Valley is home to a heated college football rivalry so deeply ingrained into both schools' traditions that the annual game is simply known as "The Rivalry."

Since the NCAA tournament began in 1939, Pennsylvania has produced four Division I basketball champions: La Salle won the championship in 1954, while Villanova won the championship in 1985, 2016, and 2018. In football, four different Pennsylvania schools claim Division I FBS championships. Pittsburgh claims nine national titles, Penn claims seven titles, Penn State claims two titles, and Lafayette claims one title. Since the division's formation in 1978, Villanova's 2009 championship is the lone FCS championship won by a Pennsylvania school. Lehigh also has one appearance in the championship game.

List of championships[edit]

Championships won by Pennsylvania teams in NCAA Division I FBS football,[8] NCAA Division I Men's Basketball,[9] and the five major leagues (MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA, NASL/MLS):


Lacrosse in Pennsylvania has a long history. Lehigh, Swarthmore, and Penn were early members of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, and lacrosse is now played at many Pennsylvania colleges. Pennsylvania has had professional lacrosse teams such as the Philadelphia Wings and the Pittsburgh Bulls, and the Wings have now returned to action, beginning in 2018.


Bicycle racing[edit]

Pennsylvania hosts the Pro Cycling Tour "Triple Crown of Cycling" bicycle races each June, with the Tom Bamford Lancaster Classic, the Reading Classic, and the Philadelphia International Championship. The PCT is sanctioned by USA Cycling, the national governing body for cycling in the United States. Pennsylvania also hosts the Univest Grand Prix professional bicycle race each year in September, sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the worldwide governing body for cycling. The road race starts and finishes in Souderton, while the criterium is located in Doylestown. The Valley Preferred Cycling Center annually hosts a USA Cycling Elite Nationals qualifying event.

Floyd Landis, of Farmersville was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title due to prohibited doping.


The Mario Andretti dynasty of race drivers hails from Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Pocono Raceway in Long Pond is home to two NASCAR race weekends a year, the Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 in early June and the Pennsylvania 400 in late July or early August, and an IndyCar race weekend, the ABC Supply 500 in August. Pennsylvania has also seen success in the sport of drag racing in the form of five time NHRA Top Fuel champion Joe Amato

Dirt track racing[edit]

Dirt ovals include Dunn Hill 2 Speedway in Monroeton, Allegheny Mountain Raceway in Kane, Bedford Speedway in Bedford, Big Diamond Raceway in Minersville, Blanket Hill Speedway in Kittanning, Borger's Speedway in Saylorsburg, Bradford Speedway in Bradford, Challenger Raceway in Indiana, Clinton County Raceway in Lock Haven, Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway in Schaefferstown, Dog Hollow Speedway in Strongstown, Eriez Speedway in Erie, Farmington VFD Speedway in Farmington, Gamblers Raceway Park in Clearfield, Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Greenwood Valley Action Track in Millville, Hamlin Speedway in Hamlin, Hesston Speedway in Huntingdon, Hill Valley Speedway in Orbisonia, Hummingbird Speedway in Falls Creek, Lake Moc-A-Tek Speedway in Lakeville, Latrobe Speedway in Latrobe, Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Linda's Speedway in Jonestown (Lebanon County), Marion Center Speedway in Marion Center, Mckean County Raceway in East Smethport, Mercer Raceway Park in Mercer, Path Valley Speedway Park in Spring Run, Penn Can Speedway in Susquehanna, Pittsburgh's Pa Motor Speedway in Imperial, Port Royal Speedway in Port Royal, Redline Raceway in Troy, Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex in Markleysburg, Selinsgrove Speedway in Selinsgrove, Shippensburg Speedway in Shippensburg, Silver Spring Speedway in Mechanicsburg [Operated 1953–2005], Snydersville Raceway in Snydersville, Susquehanna Speedway in Newberrytown, The Fairgrounds At Kutztown in Kutztown, Thunder Valley Raceway in Central City, Trail-Way Speedway in Hanover, Tri-City Speedway in Franklin, Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicburg, and Windber Speedway in Windber.

Other motorsport venues[edit]

Asphalt ovals in Pennsylvania include Jennerstown Speedway in Jennerstown, Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, Motordome Speedway in Smithton, Mountain Speedway in St. Johns, Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth (closed), and Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, CNB Bank Raceway Park Formerly known as Central PA Speedway Clearfield, Pennsylvania

Drag Strips include Beaver Springs Dragway in Beaver Springs, Lucky Drag City in Wattsburg, Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Numidia Raceway in Numidia, Pittsburgh Raceway Park in New Alexandria, and South Mountain Dragway in Boiling Springs.

Road Courses include Beaverun Motorsports Complex in Wampum, and Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in Pittsburgh. Pocono Raceway in Long Pond also has a road course that hosts SCCA and other events.

Horse racing[edit]

Pennsylvania has a long history of horse racing, as the sport was one of the few that was not banned in 17th century Pennsylvania. William Penn, the founder of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, reportedly raced his horses down the streets of Philadelphia.[11] Stephen Foster wrote the song "Camptown Races" about horse racing in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia-area businessman Samuel D. Riddle owned prominent horses Man o' War and War Admiral.

Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Parx Racing in Bensalem, and Presque Isle Downs near Erie offer thoroughbred racing. The Meadows in Pittsburgh, Mohegan Pennsylvania in Wilkes-Barre, and Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester offer harness racing in Pennsylvania.

Smarty Jones, the 2004 Kentucky Derby winner, was owned by Roy Chapman and wife Patricia. Smarty Jones was bred at Chapman's Someday Farm (Patricia explains the name: "Some day we were going to do this and some day we were going to do that. And my husband said, 'I think we ought to call it Someday Farm,' so we did.") near Philadelphia, and had Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) as his home course.[12]

Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, came from Mr. and Mrs. Roy Jackson's Lael Stables in West Grove. After suffering injuries in the Preakness Stakes on May 20, 2006, Barbaro was treated for laminitis. He developed further complications, and he was euthanized on January 29, 2007.


PGA tournaments in Pennsylvania include the 84 Lumber Classic, played at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, and the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic, played at Glenmaura National Golf Club in Scranton. There is also the PGT (Pittsburgh Golfers Tour) which is people from all over the east coast joining a club where the owner schedules tournaments all over the state.

Arnold Palmer, winner of seven major golf championships and 62 PGA Tour events, was from Latrobe. Jim Furyk, winner of the 2003 U.S. Open and 2010 Tour Championship, grew up near Lancaster.


Pennsylvania is an area of the United States that is prominent in the sport of wrestling.[13] Many of the United States top collegiate wrestlers are produced from Pennsylvania,[14] with Pennsylvania's own Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic serving as a national level high school All-Star event, featuring the top PA wrestlers in a dual team match against the top wrestlers from other states in the country.[15] It was started in 1975 as the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic,[16] sponsored by Dapper Dan Charities.[17] During the 2010s, the Penn State Nittany Lions wrestling team won eight national championships, from 2011–2014 and 2016–2019. Many Pennsylvania wrestlers have also represented the United States on the international circuit, by being on Team USA World and Olympic teams. Notable Pennsylvania wrestlers include Kurt Angle, Coleman Scott, Nate Carr, Cary Kolat, Wade Schalles, Jake Herbert, Bobby Weaver, Stanley Dziedzic, Carlton Haselrig, Ed Ruth, Jason Nolf, Zain Retherford, Jordan Oliver, and Spencer Lee.


Texas Hold 'em Poker[edit]

Texas Hold' em Poker was found in 2009 not to be gambling under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code by Judge Thomas A. James Jr. in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs Walter Watkins.[18]

The case involved a $1/$2 table stakes Texas Hold 'em Poker game with a dealer making tips. The organizers were charged with 20 counts of violating Section 5513 sections (a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(4), related to "unlawful gambling", and had materials related to the games confiscated by police as "gambling devices".[18] Section 5513 of the Pennsylvania Code makes it a misdemeanor of the first degree for a person to invite or allows other people to gather in a place of his control for the purpose of "unlawful gambling". In his decision, Judge Thomas A. James Jr. stated, "[T]here are three elements of gambling: consideration, chance and reward." The judge found through a four pronged test that skill predominates over chance, and that Texas Hold' em is a game of skill, therefore not gambling.[18]

Specifically, the decision states:

The court finds that Texas Hold 'em poker is a game where skill predominates over chance. Thus, it is not "unlawful gambling' under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.

Section 5512(d), which provides definitions, states:

As used in this section the term "unlawful" means not specifically authorized by law.

Section 5513 states: (emphasis added)

§ 5513. Gambling devices, gambling, etc.

(a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree if he:

(1) intentionally or knowingly makes, assembles, sets up, maintains, sells, lends, leases, gives away, or offers for sale, loan, lease or gift, any punch board, drawing card, slot machine or any device to be used for gambling purposes, except playing cards; (2) allows persons to collect and assemble for the purpose of unlawful gambling at any place under his control; (3) solicits or invites any person to visit any unlawful gambling place for the purpose of gambling; or (4) being the owner, tenant, lessee or occupant of any premises, knowingly permits or suffers the same, or any part thereof, to be used for the purpose of unlawful gambling.

Other Poker games[edit]

In the 1949 case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania V. Silverman, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the "Sporadic or casual act of playing cards or betting is not an indictable offense in Pennsylvania."

In 2004, Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola was quoted as saying, "it's legal to gather with friends to play poker but it's not legal when the 'house' or an outside party profits from the game."[19]

In 2005, York County District Attorney Stan Rebert was asked about illegal poker games in the York area by the York Daily Record. He replied that he had not heard of any and that it's not something that he would worry about. "Casual gambling ... that is not illegal", he said, "It's kind of a fine line."[20]

Previous legal challenges and legislative initiatives have taken place, but until recently, none have changed the status of poker in Pennsylvania.

  • HB2121 would authorize table games, including poker, in Pennsylvania's recently authorized casinos.
  • HB947 would authorize poker tournaments to be held by the holders of licenses for small games of chance.
  • In Lewistown, three members of the Brooklyn Hose Fire Co. were charged with unlawful gambling for the poker tournaments held there.[21]
  • In Greensburg, a defense attorney who had $10,000 and equipment confiscated from his office from poker tournaments is suing for their return. The attorney has not been charged and insists that poker tournaments are legal games of skill.[22]

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has published an FAQ page on the legalities of Texas Hold'em Poker for licensed establishments.

Other sports[edit]

Joe Sweeney holds the national Pennsylvania championship for table tennis. After each victory, he celebrates by staring directly into the eyes of his opponent and let's out a classic "surfer dude laugh."

The Delaware Valley was a center of cricket in the United States, with players such as Bart King competing for early 20th century teams such as the Philadelphia Cricket Club.

Pennsylvania has been home to many accomplished boxers, including Tommy Loughran, Joe Frazier, and Bernard Hopkins.

Pennsylvania has also been home to prominent tennis players, such as Donald Johnson and Bill Tilden. The U.S. Pro Indoor was held from 1969 to 1998, and the Advanta Championships of Philadelphia from 1971 to 2005. The Philadelphia Freedoms play in World TeamTennis. Another team, the Pittsburgh Triangles, played in the league in the 1970s.

Pennsylvania has a strong track and field tradition. Events include the Penn Relays and the Pittsburgh Great Race.

Famous swimmers from Pennsylvania include Johnny Weissmuller and Brendan Hansen.

The Professional Inline Hockey Association was founded in Middletown, Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Typhoon and Harrisburg Lunatics both play in the league. The American Inline Hockey League was founded in Bensalem after the league split off from the Professional Inline Hockey Association. The Delco Demons and the Pittsburgh Bandits play in the AIHL.

The Bucks County Sharks, the Philadelphia Fight and the Pittsburgh Sledgehammers are members of the USA Rugby League, the top rugby league competition in the United States.

The Pennsylvania Rebellion played in the National Pro Fastpitch league, the former professional women's softball league in the United States.

Allentown is home to The Holy Name Cadets of Drum Corps International.

The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds and the Philadelphia Phoenix compete in the American Ultimate Disc League.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ PFRA Research. "Last Hurrah in Allegheny" (PDF). Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association: 1–3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-26.
  2. ^ a b c This category indicates the year the franchise started playing in its current city
  3. ^ Moldovanyi, Rick (December 20, 2009). "Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers: The Best Rivalry in the NHL Today?". The Hockey Writers.
  4. ^ Kimelman, Adam (7 March 2013). "Penguins-Flyers rivalry has peaked in the past year". Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  5. ^ As of 2016
  6. ^ Note that some schools play in multiple conferences, especially for football. The conference listed is the primary conference that the school competes in.
  7. ^ Panaccio, Tim (1982). Beast of the East: Penn State vs Pitt : a game-by-game history of America's greatest football rivalry. West Point, New York: Leisure Press. ISBN 0-88011-068-6.
  8. ^ The list includes Division I (formerly known as the "University Division" and "Division I-A") champions prior to the 1978 split of Division I into two subdivisions (FBS and FCS), and college football champions prior to the 1956 split of the NCAA into divisions. The list of champions is taken from the NCAA's website
  9. ^ The list only includes the winners of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, which began in 1939.
  10. ^ The Warriors won the 1947 BAA Finals. The NBA traces its lineage through its predecessor, the BAA, which was founded in 1946. The BAA merged with the NBL to form the NBA 1949.
  11. ^ "Overview: Pennsylvania Sports". Explore PA Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  12. ^ "The Smarty Jones Story".
  13. ^ Wrestling, a Pennsylvania passion. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  14. ^ Biony, Allan. (July 13, 2021). Which American State Has Produced the Best Wrestlers in the History of the Sport?. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  15. ^ Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  16. ^ Wunderley, Ken (March 12, 2020). "Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic March 26 at Pitt". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved March 31, 2023.
  17. ^ Wunderley, Ken (February 15, 2016). "Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic March 26 at Pitt". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved March 31, 2023.
  18. ^ a b c "[PA] Judge Thomas A. James Jr. Opinion on Commonwealth of PA vs. Walter Watkins (Texas Hold'em)". Scribd.
  19. ^ "'Story' Meets a Cow!". 18 August 2015.
  20. ^ "How to . . . Play Texas Hold 'Em Poker".
  21. ^ "Judge warns fire co.: Texas Hold'em tournament not legal fundraising tool".
  22. ^ "Greensburg lawyer's poker games under scrutiny".

External links[edit]