Forbes Field, one of the first all steel and concrete ballparks of its kind. The structure was to make the park stand longer and be more durable.
Forbes Field under construction. Construction of the ballpark took place from 1903 to 1909 when the ballpark hosted its first game. The Chicago Cubs won the first game 3-2 in front of a crowd of about 30,000 people.
One of the most famous pictures and events of Pittsburgh Pirates history. Bill Mazeroski hits a walk-off in game seven of the 1960 World Series, to bring the title home to Pittsburgh.
A colorized photo of Forbes Field during a baseball game.
Walking into Forbes Field, one might see this when they are going to spend the afternoon watching a Summer ballgame. People came out to see the would be future hall of famers such as Honus Wagner, Bill Mazeroski, and Roberto Clemente.
Aerial shot of Forbes Field.
Home plate of Forbes Field which can be found in Posver Hall. Posvar Hall is on the University of Pittsburgh campus. This is said to be where home plate laid in Forbes Field
The outfield wall of Forbes Field can be found on Roberto Clemente drive today. This is in between Schenley Drive and South Bouquet street. A visitor could walk the length of the outfield wall where Forbes Field once stood.
The outfield wall of Forbes Field today. Forbes Field never witnessed a no hitter and is home to the last triple header ball game. The Pirates hosted the Reds on October 2nd 1920.
Backstory and Context
Prior to Forbes Field the Pirates played their games at Exposition Park, a 16,000 seat park that sat along the Allegheny River. When Barney Dreyfuss purchased the Pirates in 1900, he began to look for a new place to play baseball, away from the smog that covered Pittsburgh. He found and purchased seven acres of the Mary Schenley estate with the help of Andrew Carnegie. The park began construction in 1903 on a park that would be known for its unique architectural design. Forbes Field featured a three tier grand stand along with luxury suites. The park went through many expansions because of the amount of people who came to see the games. The park featured a very deep center field at 462 feet, while left field was 360 feet, and right field was 376 feet. This was rumored to be deep due to Dreyfuss' dislike of "cheap homeruns". 2
Barney Dreyfuss opened the ballpark June 30th, 1909 for a season matchup between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs. The park opened as Forbes Field, named after the French and Indian war hero John Forbes. John Forbes was best known for capturing Fort Duquesne from the French, and naming the city "Pittsburgh". A crowd of about 38,000 came to the newly made Forbes Field to watch the first ever game played at the park. Most people had to stand and watch because at that time, the park only sat about 25,000 people. The Pirates were defeated 3-2 on that Summer day, but that did not stop them from being crowned World Champions the same year. 3
Forbes Field witnessed events and players that would go down as some of the greatest in Pittsburgh history. Players such as Roberto Clemente, Ralph Kiner, and Honus Wagner helped bring success to the Pirates in their playing time. The Pirates won the 1909 World Series against the Detroit Tigers with the help from future Hall of Famer Honus Wagner. Forbes Field also witnessed Babe Ruth's last homeruns of his career. It hosted two Allstar games and the first World Series night game. Along with that, the Pirates won three more World Series' ,but one will forever go down as the best moment of Pittsburgh Pirates history. When the 1960 World Series came around, the Pirates found themselves up against a very powerful Yankee's team. It was the bottom of the ninth, game seven, when one Pirate stepped up to the plate and forever changed Pittsburgh sports history. Bill Mazeroski, the second basemen hit a ball deep to left-center field to walk off the ballgame and crown the Pittsburgh Pirates World Series champions. 1
Even though the park was torn down in 1971, remnants of Forbes Field can still be found around Pittsburgh today. You can find two of the spots on the University of Pittsburgh campus.
"The first is a portion of Forbes Field’s center field wall. This can be found off of Roberto Clemente Drive, which runs between Schenley Drive and South Bouquet Street near Schenley Plaza and the Cathedral of Learning" 4Along with this, walking into Wesley W. Posvar Hall, you would be able to see the original location of home plate. 4 PNC park, the Pirates home field today, holds the wall that the famous game 7 homerun ball was hit over. It was moved from Three Rivers Stadium to PNC park. 5
2. Forbes Field. Ballparks of Baseball. Accessed July 17, 2018. https://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/ballparks/forbes-field/.
3. Spedden, Zach. Ballparks that Live On: Forbes Field. Ballpark Digest. December 22, 2017. Accessed July 17, 2018. https://ballparkdigest.com/2017/12/22/ballparks-that-live-on-forbes-field/.
4. Uncovering the Remnants of Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Uncovering PA. March 28, 2018. Accessed July 17, 2018. uncoveringpa.com/forbes-field-pittsburgh.
5. Forbes Field Wall. Atlas Obscura. Accessed July 17, 2018. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/forbes-field-wall.