Seven One-Game Wonders In Pittsburgh Sports History


Steelers teammates congratulate Randy Bullock during a game. Photo Credit: Matt Freed

Sports tell a story. That’s why we love them so much. But within each story of a team, a season, or a game, there’s the story of a player. An athlete who gave everything to make it to the pros. 

Here in Pittsburgh, we as fans have had the delight of watching so many athletes sport a black and yellow uniform. While not everyone gets to stardom while in Pittsburgh, the city forever becomes a part of you. Even if it was just for one game.

Here are seven one-game wonders in Pittsburgh sports history.

(Before we start, an honorable mention to Matt McCrane, who got his own one-game story shared in a different Foreword article)

Nick Sciba, Kicker, Pittsburgh Steelers – October 30, 2022

From the fish market to the football field, Nick Sciba’s Steelers story certainly is an interesting one. Sciba, who played his college football at Wake Forest, holds the NCAA record for field goal percentage at 89.9%. 

Sciba with the Steelers. Photo Credit:

While he went undrafted at the 2022 NFL Draft, he found a way to get his foot in the door, signing as an undrafted free agent with the Steelers that summer. Unfortunately for him, his challenge was beating out Chris Boswell, a chance that was slim at best. 

Sciba ended up being released during the second wave of preseason cuts, and soon went back home to Clover, South Carolina. He was working part time at a local fish market until he got a call.

With Chris Boswell injured, the Steelers turned back to Sciba, and brought him in as the emergency kicker for Pittsburgh in their Week 8 contest against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles. While the game itself was ugly (a 35-13 loss for the Steelers), Sciba went a perfect 2/2 at field goals, and also kicked an extra point. 

In the coming days, Sciba was released, as the Steelers believed that Chris Boswell would be able to return post-bye week. It would later turn out, however, that Boswell would not be able to return as soon as previously thought, and the Steelers had released Sciba prematurely. It was just a microcosm of the absolute mess that the Steelers were during the first half of the 2022 season. 

Pittsburgh would end up signing Matthew Wright, who also played three games for the team in 2020, to take over kicking duties for the team until Boswell’s return. 

Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Right Wing, Pittsburgh Penguins – January 15, 2014

Letourneau-Leblond in action as a Penguin.

Suiting up for the Penguins just once in his career, in a game against the Washington Capitals during 2013-14 NHL season, his careerr might not be the flashiest, but he does have a stake in NHL history.

While perhaps surprisingly he does not hold the record for longest last name in NHL history, he does have it for longest full name, at 26 letters long. For the sake of his jersey, however, he went with the shortened “Leblond” when he took the ice.

The history-making Letourneau-Leblond’s one game with the Penguins, where he played around 5 minutes, with no points, would be the last of his NHL career. That same season he spent 66 with Pittsburgh’s American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and spent the next few seasons bouncing around the AHL. This current hockey season, 2022-23, he played one game for the East Coast Hockey League’s Trois-Rivieres Lions. 

Maxime Lagacé, Goaltender, Pittsburgh Penguins – May 8, 2021

With one game left to go in the Penguins’ 2020-21 campaign, and with goaltenders Casey DeSmith injured and Tristan Jarry resting up for the postseason, it was time for Maxime Lagacé to take the net for Pittsburgh in their final game of the season.

Maxime Lagacé makes a save. Photo Credit: Chaz Palla

Lagacé, who started the 2017-18 season as the 4th string goaltender in the Vegas Golden Knights organization, ended up playing 16 games for the team after injuries to Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban, and Oscar Dansk. He garnered an .867 save percentage and a 3.92 goals against average, but went 6-7-1 in 14 starts and helped Vegas maintain afloat in their inaugural season, which would eventually take them on the run of a lifetime to the Stanley Cup Finals. 

He appeared in one game for Vegas the following season, then eventually found himself in the Penguins organization for the 2020-21 season as the third string goaltender.

In his only game as a Penguin, Lagacé shined, making 29 saves on 29 shots in a 1-0 shutout performance against the Buffalo Sabres on Fan Appreciation Night, leaving Lagacé with a perfect career save percentage and goals against average as a Penguin. 

Lagacé would serve as backup to Tristan Jarry during the ensuing playoff run, but did not see any action, even as Jarry had a nightmare of a series against the New York Islanders, who won the series 4-2.

Lagacé signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the following offseason, and played two games for the club in 2021-22. Today, he is still in Tampa’s organization, playing for their AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.

Phil Irwin, Pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates – April 14, 2013

With 162 games in a standard MLB regular season, it is very rare to find someone who only played one game for one team, but a pitcher by the name of Phil Irwin managed to do it twice.

Irwin during Spring Training with the Pirates. Photo Credit: Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

In 2013, Irwin pitched one game for the Pirates, at home against the Cincinnati Reds. Irwin didn’t have a fantastic outing, allowing 6 hits and 5 runs scored in 4.2 innings pitched, but despite Irwin’s struggles, the Pirates were able to rally, exploding for 4 runs in the 7th inning and 6 in the 8th en route to a 10-7 win over the Reds. 

The very next year, he did it again. 

In a July 8 game against the Houston Astros, Irwin pitched for the Texas Rangers, where he allowed 6 hits but only 3 runs against this time, but the Texans were unable to rally like the Pirates did in Irwin’s Pittsburgh outing. Texas would lose the game 8-3. 

These were the only two games of Irwin’s MLB career. 

Carl Sneep, Defenseman, Pittsburgh Penguins – December 17, 2011

Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, Carl Sneep was a former 2nd round pick (32nd overall) by the Penguins. He was the second-ever draft pick of Pens GM Ray Shero. Drafted in 2006, Sneep would play four years at Boston College before turning pro. However, he would have a tough time cracking the Penguins lineup, but after a plethora of injuries to Pittsburgh’s blueline during the 2011-12 NHL season, Sneep would finally make his NHL debut. 

Sneep in preseason action. Photo Credit: Claus Anderson

Sneep actually saw a decent amount of ice time in the game, counting 20 total shifts and 16:19 of ice time. In that time, he would end up also recording his first NHL point: assisting on a goal by Evgeni Malkin during an 8-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. 

That Malkin goal, the fourth Pittsburgh goal in the first period of the game would end up being the game-winner, adding some more meaning to Sneep’s one and only in the NHL.

That game would end up being the only game Sneep would play in the NHL. He played 40 games in the AHL that year, and split the following season between the AHL and the ECHL. During the 2012-13 season, Sneep was traded to the Dallas Stars organization, where he split time between Dallas’ AHL and ECHL affiliates. 

Randy Bullock, Kicker, Pittsburgh Steelers – December 4, 2016

While Randy Bullock has had mainstay jobs in Cincinnati and Tennessee for a few years now, he bounced around the NFL quite frequently early on in his career. 

Starting out with the Houston Texans for the first two years of his career,  he split the 2015 season between Houston and the New York Jets. The following season, he would split between three teams. 

Bullock with the Steelers. Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire

Bullock started the season with Cincinnati, and bounced around the NFL before finding himself in Pittsburgh.

With Chris Boswell out with an injury, the Steelers needed a kicker for their Week 13 matchup against the New York Giants, and they brought in Bullock as Boswell’s temporary replacement. Bullock had also appeared in one game for the Giants during the 2016 season, but now found himself on the opposite end of the field. 

In his only outing as a Steeler, he went a perfect 3/3 on field goals and made an extra point as the Steelers defeated the Giants 24-14, their third win in a seven game win streak to end the season, propelling them from 4-5 to 11-5. 

Bullock would find himself in Cincinnati again the following season, and spent three more with the Bengals before his current home in Tennessee. 

Andrew Susac, Catcher/Pinch Hitter, Pittsburgh Pirates – September 27, 2020

Andrew Susac has a few interesting stories in his career. Breaking into the big leagues in 2014, Susac got his start with the San Francisco Giants, who went on an incredible run to win the 2014 World Series. Susac’s first ever game was July 26th of that year…or was it? Officially, in the MLB books, his major league debut came a month earlier, on May 22nd, thanks to a crazy turn of events

Susac with the Pirates in practice. Photo Credit: Christopher Horner

Susac would appear in 35 games for the Giants during the regular season, knocking in 24 hits on 88 at bats, along with 3 home runs. His first hit in the MLB came against the Pirates. 

Susac did not play much in San Francisco’s postseason run, only appearing in 4 games, but was a member of the team as the Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals to win a ring. 

Ironically, Susac appeared in at least one game in every series but one, San Francisco’s matchup against Pittsburgh. 

Susac would appear in a career high 52 games for the Giants the following season, but constant injury hurdles kept him from getting into more than 10 games in any season after that. In 2016, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, playing two years there before one in Baltimore, and after no play in 2019, returned for one final game in a Buccos jersey.

After almost a whole season in the minors for the Pirates organization, Pittsburgh gave him a shot for one of their final games of the dramatically shortened 2020 season.

His final MLB outing was nothing flashy, but in two at bats, he was walked both times, meaning Susac, by definition, got on base every time he stepped up to the plate as a member of the Pirates.