Vandergrift, March 28, 2023 – State Sen. Jim Brewster joined local officials and community leaders in North Vandergrift today to dedicate a local bridge to a hometown hero.
The Vandergrift Bridge, spanning the Kiski River between the borough and Parks Township, is now the Rudy Minarcin Bridge after Brewster added language to an omnibus bridge-naming bill that was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf late last year.
Minarcin was born in North Vandergrift in 1930 and led Vandergrift High School to the WPIAL baseball title in 1948. After signing with the Vandergrift Pioneers, his baseball career was put on hold for service to his country in 1951. After his stint in the U.S. Army, he made the majors pitching for the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox.
Minarcin threw a one-hit complete game against the Pirates at Forbes Field while driving in two runs. He also pitched for the Havana Sugar Kings of the International League before the team moved to New Jersey following Fidel Castro’s rise to power. His major league career was curtailed by a devastating knee injury after he compiled a 4.66 ERA over 70 appearances.
After baseball, Minarcin returned to Vandergrift to run the family grocery store, raise a family and coach little league teams. He retired in 1995. Following his death in 2013, the community began to petition for the bridge dedication in his honor.
“Rudy traveled the world and never forgot where he came from. He returned to apply the skills he learned for the benefit of young people from his hometown,” Brewster said. “With this dedication, his name will be carried through for generations to come.”