"If everyone threw like that, I don't think this game would make it. It would be too damned boring."
--Keith Hernandez, on Astros pitcher Mike Scott and his split fingered fastball
Forbes Field was a Major League Baseball park in the Oakland
neighborhood (or University District) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It
served as the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League from
mid-1909 to mid-1970.
Left Field - 360 ft
Left-Center - 422 ft
Deepest Center Field - 462 ft
Right-Center - 416 ft (estimated)
Right Field - 376 ft
Backstop - 110 ft
Left Field - 365 ft
Left-Center - 406 ft
Deep L.C. - 457 ft
Center Field - Dreyfuss Monument, no
Deep R.C. - 436 ft
Right-Center - 375 ft
Right Field - 300 ft
Backstop - 75 ft
It was also the home field of the Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues
from 1939 to 1948. The Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL (who were initially
also called the "Pirates") used the stadium from 1933 to 1963
when they moved to nearby Pitt Stadium.
The park was built under the direction of Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss.
It was named for a General John Forbes, and is perhaps the only major
league baseball park named for an officer in the French and Indian War.
Forbes' contribution to the area was having captured Fort Duquesne and
renaming it Fort Pitt after British statesman William Pitt the Elder.
Pittsburgh derives its name from this fact.
to the site of the Forbes Field!
If you have Google
Earth installed, click here
to be "flown" to the site of the Forbes Field. Of course
the stadium is no longer there, but you can see the old
neighborhood. (If you do not have it installed, get
it from Google. It allows you to view virtually anywhere on
Earth in 3D using satellite imagery.)
Forbes Field replaced Exposition Park. It is the only home the Pirates
ever had that was not on the west bank of the Allegheny River. It was in
an attractive setting, with Schenley Park and a large ravine beyond the
outfield area. In its later years, the tall Cathedral of Learning on the
nearby University of Pittsburgh campus afforded a breathtaking view of the
ballpark, and it is from that tower that many "aerial" photos of
the ballpark were taken.
On May 25, 1935, the first home run was hit over the double-deck
grandstand in right field, which, coincidentally, was Babe Ruth's final
career home run. That was a target that Willie Stargell would broach a
number of times in his early career with the Bucs. However, the most
famous homer hit in Forbes Field was undoubtedly Bill Mazeroski's walkoff
home run to win the 1960 World Series for the Pirates.
The flagpole, and a portion of the left and center field walls still
exist on the Forbes Quadrangle portion of campus of the University of
Pittsburgh. A bronze plaque indicates the portion over which Mazeroski's
1960 blast traveled. Home plate is preserved in its original location,
under Plexiglas in a hallway in one of the buildings occupying the site.
The portions of the wall that still stand are also still covered in the
same ivy that decorated its left and center field walls for decades, not
as famously but the same way as Wrigley
Forbes Field as
seen during its first season.
courtesy of LCPC
at FORBES FIELD
Cubs 3, Pirates 2
Bob Emslie, Hank O'Day
Fred Clarke, Pirates
Frank Chance, Cubs
Vic Willis, Pirates
Ed Reulbach, Cubs
Pittsburgh Mayor Magee
Johnny Evers (hit by pitch)
Frank Chance (single)
Harry Steinfeldt (07/02/1909)
Mike Mitchell (07/05/1909)
Tommy Leach (07/21/1910)
Rebel Oakes (07/27/1909)
Solly Hofman (07/02/1909)
Honus Wagner (08/22/1912)
Mordecai Brown (07/02/1909)
Hit by Pitch
Vic Willis hit Johnny Evers
Rip Hagerman (07/02/1909)
Gene Moore (04/23/1910)
research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet.
One artifact no longer there is the statue of John Peter "Honus"
Wagner, the first great Pirates star and one of the five
original inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame. That statue, which
shows Wagner at bat, completing his swing, was moved to the entrance to Three
Rivers Stadium and later to the entrance to PNC
Park. In his playing days at shortstop, Wagner was said to have had a
great range, and it is fair to say that ol' Honus is still getting around.
Forbes Field had an exceptionally large outfield, and during its
61-year history it never witnessed a no-hitter. After the extension of the
right field stands into the outfield during the mid-1920s, the dimensions
were pretty well set for most of the next 50 years, except during
1947-1953 when an inner fence reduced the left field area by 30 feet, to
assist Pirates sluggers like Hank Greenberg and Ralph Kiner.
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