Joe Santoni, named Pittsburgh Steelers, dies

Updated: October 14, 2003, 1:51 PM ET

PITTSBURGH -- Joe Santoni, who named the Pittsburgh Steelers in a contest in 1940, died at 82.

He died Friday of complications from heart surgery.

Santoni was an avid sports fan and in the 1930s followed an NFL team then known as the Pittsburgh Pirates. But the team wanted a new identity to differentiate it from the city's baseball team. Santoni submitted the name Steelers and owner Art Rooney Sr. liked it.

Santoni was given season tickets for a year and remained a season ticket holder until shortly before his death, said his sister, Norma Fayer.

He lived in Charleroi and for decades owned Santoni's Restaurant, which was decorated with Steelers photos.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index