Buried Treasure: ‘Holy kangaroo!’ Team Tennis in Pittsburgh

Civic Arena. - PINTEREST.COM

In October, 1972, there were stories about Pittsburgh public relations man Chuck Reichblum forming the National Tennis League. In the Oct. 6 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Vince Leonard quotes Reichblum as saying, "We're out to eliminate the Victorian from tennis, the love and ad-vahn-tages and all-white uniforms. Tennis used to be polite, genteel ladies sipping tea on lawns. Us, we're after the baseball fan."

At the same time, on the West Coast, Billie Jean King, her husband Larry (no, not that Larry King) and Dennis Murphy, who had been involved in forming the American Basketball Association and World Hockey Association, were pursuing a similar project. Eventually, the two groups got together and formed World Team Tennis (WTT).

On May 22, 1973, WTT was officially announced. There would be 16 teams, each of which would have a minimum of two men and two women. Matches would include men's singles, women's singles, and mixed doubles. Murphy was the league president, while former U.S. Davis Cup non-playing captain George McCall was named commissioner.

Reichblum and his two partners, attorney Bill Sutton and industrialist John H. Hillman III (Henry's brother) were awarded the Pittsburgh franchise, which they announced would be called the Triangles. They were considering both Three Rivers Stadium and the Civic Arena as possible homes at that point.

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