Forbes Field is long gone, but fans mark its 100th birthday



Where else but Pittsburgh would the citizenry mark the 100th anniversary of something that's not there anymore -- and hasn't been there for four decades or so?

But when it comes to Forbes Field, the iconic ballpark set against the backdrop of Schenley Park in Oakland, the memories are as vivid as ever.

Nicknamed the House of Thrills in its later years, Forbes Field was the stage for some of the most dramatic moments and some of the biggest stars in baseball. But it was also the place where Pitt became the Panthers and chalked up national football titles, where Art Rooney's NFL franchise was born, where boxing champions stepped into the ring, where crowds enjoyed everything from the circus to soccer but never saw a pierogi race.

Franklin D. Roosevelt once campaigned there. Billy Graham brought his crusade. Mahalia Jackson sang gospel, and Benny Benack and the Iron City Six blazed a trail for all the sports ditties that grace today's airwaves.

The combination of sports, politics, religion and music made it the city's unofficial community center. It was more than a place. It was a state of mind.

Tuesday is the 100th anniversary of its opening day, when the defending champion Chicago Cubs -- yep, it was their last title -- defeated a Pirates team that would win its first World Series title four months later.

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