FORBES FIELD

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Though the Pirates have had five homes throughout their history, one above all others is remembered as "the" home of the franchise. For it was there Oct. 10, 1960, at 3:36 p.m. that the greatest moment in Pirates, Pittsburgh sports and possibly all of baseball history took place.

Then club owner Barney Dreyfuss in 1909 built a 25,000-seat, concrete and steel stadium in the growing, middle-class East End of Pittsburgh -- Forbes Field.

A roster of greats that could match any club -- Honus Wagner, Kiki Cuyler, Paul and Lloyd Waner, Pie Traynor, Ralph Kiner, Arky Vaughan, Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, Bob Friend and Willie Stargell -- all called the field home.

File, Post-Gazette
A jubilant Bill Mazeroski rounds third base -- with help from fans -- after hitting the World Series clinching home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, Oct. 13, 1960 versus the New York Yankees at Forbes Field. It is the only Game 7 walk-off homer in series history, and arguably the most dramatic moment in the history of the sport.
Click photo for larger image.

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Despite deep outfield dimensions that were the scorn of home run hitters, the park was no pitchers favorite either -- more than four-thousand Major League ballgames were played at Forbes Field and a no-hitter was never thrown in any of them. In addition, a unusually hard infield surface made fielding ground balls notoriously difficult.

Forbes Field hosted the World Series four times (1909, 1925, 1927, 1960) and the All-Star Game twice (1944, 1959); including the first night All-Star Game in 1944. Babe Ruth's final home runs were hit there in 1936. The first radio broadcast of a major league baseball game took place from Forbes in 1921.

But it was an October afternoon that made the park synonymous with greatness. The only walk-off home run in a Game 7 in World Series history, hit by an 8-spot batter whose most valuable asset was his fielding.

Each year a group gathers at the remnants of the Forbes Field wall on Oct. 10th to commemorate Mazeroski's home run and listen to a time-synchronized rebroadcast of Game 7. And every year, the game ends the same: At precisely 3:36 p.m., the "Gunner" Bob Prince goes nuts after the ball sails over Yogi Berra and the leftfield wall and into the annals of history. And the Pirates win.

Forbes Field was demolished in the fall of 1972. Its home plate eventually found its way inside Posvar Hall (initially called Forbes Quadrangle) under clear plastic in the first floor.

File, Post-Gazette
Fans pour onto the field after the completion of the final game at Forbes Field, June 28, 1970.
Click photo for larger image.

Bricks from the demolished fence, including left-center field where Bill Mazeroski's World-Series winning home run cleared in 1960, were used to outline the wall on the sidewalk and in the street.

Dedicated as Center Field Plaza in 1976, the wall and pole fell into disrepair, but have been repaired this year with a $25,000 state grant and donations. The wall, built in 1947, has been pointed, capped and painted and the rusting flagpole repaired and painted. A replica of Forbes Field's entrance gate and ticket window built by members of Carpenters District Council will be installed on the site as well.

Ceremonies marking the restoration of those relics and dedication of a new state historic marker will serve as an unofficial kickoff to the city's four-day celebration of the All-Star Game.



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