As we all know, all three of Pittsburgh’s major sports league teams share the same black, gold, and occasional white color scheme (though the shade of gold is slightly different for each), which is based off of the official Pittsburgh city flag.
The Pittsburgh Steelers started off with black and gold since their inception in 1933, briefly switching to Philadelphia Eagles colors during the 1943 season when then team merged with their cross-state counterparts, before switching back the following year.
The Pittsburgh Penguins began with blue and white as their color scheme before switching in 1980 to the black and gold colors they use today.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, however, started off in red, white, and blue, and it was on this day — April 19 — in 1948 that they officially switched over to the ‘Burgh-centric black and gold (and white) that they use today when they became the first MLB team to exercise a permanent change (and only the second overall) to their uniform configuration.
That wasn’t the only notable thing about the game from April 19, 1948. It was a pretty interesting day at the ballpark:
The Pirates, wearing their black and gold color scheme for the first time, lose baseball’s traditional opener in Cincinnati, 4-1, in a game that features scuffles between opposing players, an ump, and a photographer, a fan who jumps on the field, and the police. The Bucs, the first team to permanently change their original colors, abandoned the familiar patriotic look of red, white, and blue, choosing instead to use hues that match the Flag of Pittsburgh.
So not only did the Bucs become the version we all know and love (and sometimes hate) on this day, there was also a major brawl involving someone from just about every group of people on the field. An interesting way to roll in the new era of Bucs baseball.
Following the uniform change in 1948, the Pirates have since switched up their logo and done several redesigns, including changing the P and the Pirate on multiple occasions throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and 2000s.
The Pirates do a great job embracing their history, often sending the team out on the field with classic throwbacks and offering some of them for purchase by the fans, but it all goes back to this date in 1948, when the Buccos joined the official Pittsburgh black and gold club, becoming one-third of the city-wide trifecta that we know and love today.