Big Lead Sports Bar



While cleaning through a stack of random junk the other day, I uncovered a program from a 1989 Penguins game. And let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised, from a comedic point of view. Some of the ads were simply priceless. It was like going through an old high school yearbook. I've scanned some of the highlights for your approval (click on the image for a larger view).

1. John Fedko, for WPXI:

Yowza. Consider this a gold mine for the Fedko "fans" out there, if they hadn't stumbled onto it already. I believe the timing of this ad would place him in his third year at the station (hard to believe it's been 21 years already); but when you consider the 'stache, the formal wear, the youthful exuberance...this just wins on a number of levels.

2. Tom Barrasso, for WTAE:

I must admit: I did not listen to sports talk radio when I was 12. I was more interested in wiffle ball and Ninja Gaiden at the time. But my oh my, look at that murderer's row lineup that 'TAE was sporting: Bill Hillgrove, Stan Savran, Myron Cope, Guy Junker, AND Alby Oxenreiter. May I nominate this as the deepest Pittsburgh sports department ever?

3. KDKA:

Going for simplicity, KDKA uses a simple graphic of what is now a very old TV featuring an image of the greatest hockey player ever. Sometimes, less is more.

4. I.C Light:
From the memorable "Preserve the Wild Life" campaign comes this vintage I.C. Light ad. How many of you took your mullets to Donzi's and ordered a few of these after a raucous night at the arena 20 years ago?

5. WPGH Fox 53:
OK, they were 32-40-8, so I guess 1989-90 wasn't the year after all. At least they were optimistic. And don't forget, at this point in time, channel 53's lineup was counting more on syndicated episodes of Mama's Family than the fledgling network sitcoms that would blossom into The Simpsons and Married...with Children.

6. Paul Coffey for Colussy Chevrolet:
I remember few businesses (outside of Wendy's and their glorious free chili promotion) that loved the Pens more than Colussy Chevrolet. And what better to illustrate this partnership than a 28-year-old Paul Coffey leaning on a beautiful, maroon Chevy truck?

So what's the moral of the story? Well, I don't know if there's a moral out of 20-year-old sight gags featuring John Fedko in a tuxedo and goalie pads, but there's usually a treasure or two to be had when cleaning out a basement. This is not the last you will see out of this series, I promise you.

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HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Wow! The Barasshole should read "area man saves 39" because he later tried to kill Mark Madden with a goalie stick

Anonymous said...

The WTAE ad is classic. It hung on the wall in my bedroom next to the WTAE ad from the Steeler game program of the same era. It had a photo of Woodson and Thomas Everett and read "Passing lanes closed until further notice."

Chip said...

I seem to remember a ridiculous amount of optimism over that 89-90 season. I was only vaguely aware of hockey but I had a Pens duffel bag I used for school and this kid thought I was a diehard so he'd update me on the team every day.

Even though I only went to like 3 games in the 80's, I'll always remember their skate around theme music. It was very brain infecting.

Anonymous said...

Chip's right on the hype surrounding the 89-90 Pens. Mondesi, tell me you have the old "Double Trouble" team calendar from that era featuring all the guys wo wore the double digit uni numbers...Cullen, Zalapski, Brown, Lemieux, Coffey.

AJ said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the 89-90 season was the year that the Penguins infamously missed the playoffs by 1 point. Lemieux missed a bunch of games that year because of his back and the team struggled down the stretch.

All they had to do in the last game of the season was get a tie against Buffalo to secure the final playoff spot. They ended up blowing a lead and eventually lost in OT.

I think the hype was because the All Star game was in Pittsburgh that year.

RP said...

89-90 was hyped because the Pens actually made the playoffs the year before, for the first time in a long long time and the first since 66 joined the team. So coming into the season, things were looking up and there was lots of optimism, especially with Double Trouble on the ice and our calendars.

AJ is right about them missing out on the playoffs on the last day of the year when Uwe Krupp flipped a blue line shot past Barrasso in OT and knocking them out of the playoffs when all they needed was a tie to get in.

That was a kind of reverse whammy from a couple years prior when 66 scored on his back in OT to beat the Caps and keep their playoff hopes alive. They needed a win in OT to stay alive and their coach Pierre Creamer didn't realize it. 66 knew it and scored one of his signature goals.

Back to 89-90 - missing the playoffs may have been the best thing to happen to the team. Because they missed the playoffs, they drafted #5 the next year and were able to select #68 and start winning Cups.

mondesishouse said...


First of all...glad to see you're still alive. We've missed you.

Second, I do vaguely remember the Double Trouble poster, unfortunately I do not have one to illustrate its greatness. Tried Googling and Ebaying it for an image but no dice. Any reader help on this one?

Steve said...

Wasn't the 89-90 season the one where they had like 95 points but didn't go, yet the Leafs went with like only 58 points? That was when they decided to change the playoff system to use only points as the deciding factor, instead of picking the 4 top teams from each division.

The Duke from Dukes Court said...

The best old Pens poster out there is the Kevin Stevens "Don't do drugs" poster, i mean come on, the irony.

Sam said...

ah... the Wendy's chili promotion!

I remember getting excited about going to games when teams like Hartford were in town... during a few of those years when we were really scoring, it was almost guaranteed when we played those teams

Anonymous said...

That time of year, Mondesi. Thanks for welcoming me back.

Can't believe someone made a Pierre Creamer refernce...

Here just for the fun of it - Randy Cunneyworth.

The last known whereabouts of Cunneyworth were as the second line center for the Hartford Whalers on the original edition of EA Sports' NHL Hockey for the Sega Genesis.