‘Steelers Babies’ arrive swaddled in Terrible Towels at St. Clair Hospital

January 6, 2017
The newborns at St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon are being swaddled in Terrible Towels to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a touch of good luck as they enter the NFL playoffs. - Mike Jones/Observer-Reporter Order a Print

MT. LEBANON – It’s OK for these babies to be “terrible.”

The newborns at St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon are being swaddled in Terrible Towels to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a touch of good luck as the team enters the NFL playoffs this weekend.

The staff at the family birth unit at St. Clair began Thursday wrapping each new baby in the gold towel that has become symbolic of Steelers Nation.

Each newborn will receive a Terrible Towel for as long as the Steelers remain in the playoffs. The hospital first started this tradition six years ago in February 2011 when Pittsburgh played in its last Super Bowl, prompting national and international attention for the “Steelers Babies.” They did it again last year and have dressed up newborns in Pittsburgh Pirates outfits complete with miniature bats when the baseball team has ventured into the playoffs, according to Marianne Olschesky, a hospital spokeswoman.

“The nurses get that fire in them to dress up our babies, and we’re more than happy to supply them with the outfits,” Olschesky said. “The reaction has been wonderful. The siblings love to see the babies dressed up. It gets everyone really excited for the game.”

The public relations staff visited the South Side Wednesday to purchase 100 towels.

The hospital delivers about 130 babies a month, hospital officials said, so that seems to show the staff is confident about a long run through the playoffs.

Proud new dads and grandparents lined the glass Friday afternoon looking at the eight newborns swaddled in gold.

“We’re just happy to put it out there for everyone,” Olschesky said. “They love it. We get such a great response and we’re happy to do it for everyone in Pittsburgh.”

The Steelers play the Miami Dolphins in Pittsburgh at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and Patch.com. He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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