In the Spotlight
Striking Gridiron: A Town's Pride and a Team's Shot at Glory During the Biggest Strike in American History by Greg Nichols
During the largest strike in American history, a national record-setting high school football team inspired a struggling steel town and captured the country’s imagination.
The Steel Strike of 1959 drove the iconic mill town of Braddock, Pennsylvania, into despair. But in a time of crisis, this small community just outside Pittsburgh found glory on its high school field. After five undefeated seasons under the firm but compassionate guidance of future-Hall of Fame coach Chuck Klausing, the Braddock Tigers had the national record for consecutive wins in their sights. Even Sports Illustrated rushed to cover this history-making team, which dramatically cemented its legacy on the very last play of the season.
In the words of Klausing himself, “Greg Nichols couldn't have written it better if he’d been on the sidelines with us.” But more than simply the inspirational story of a record-breaking team, this intimate chronicle recounts the striking workers who stood tall against the steel industry—and a setback in the Supreme Court—and whose strength was mirrored in the field heroics of steel-town boys on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. Striking Gridiron takes us from the grueling preseason to the sidelines, from the school hallways to the streets and homes, to reveal a beleaguered blue-collar town from a bygone era.