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Forbes Field, Pittsburgh

#10 of 13 in Historic Sites in Pittsburgh
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Arena / Stadium
Forbes Field was a baseball park in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1909 to June 28, 1970. It was the third home of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball (MLB) team, and the first home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the city's National Football League (NFL) franchise. The stadium also served as the home football field for the University of Pittsburgh "Pitt" Panthers from 1909 to 1924. The stadium was named after its adjacent street, Forbes Ave., itself named for British general John Forbes, who fought in the French and Indian War and named the city in 1758.

The US$1 million ($28.5 million today) project was initiated by Pittsburgh Pirates' owner Barney Dreyfuss, with the goal of replacing his franchise's then-current home, Exposition Park. The stadium was made of concrete and steel, the first such stadium in the National League and third in Major League Baseball, in order to increase its lifespan. The Pirates opened Forbes Field on June 30, 1909, against the Chicago Cubs, and played the final game against the Cubs on June 28, 1970. The field itself featured a large playing surface, with the batting cage placed in the deepest part of center field during games. Seating was altered multiple times throughout the stadium's life; at times fans were permitted to sit on the grass in the outfield during overflow crowds. The Pirates won three World Series while at Forbes Field and the other original tenant, the Pittsburgh Panthers football team had five undefeated seasons before moving in 1924. In fact, it was on-field performance, by both the Steelers and the suddenly surging Pirates, rather than any intrinsic properties of the stadium itself that led to Forbes Field being dubbed "The House of Thrills" in 1959.
Some remnants of the ballpark still stand, surrounded by the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Fans gather on the site annually on the anniversary of Bill Mazeroski's World Series winning home run, in what author Jim O'Brien writes is "one of the most unique expressions of a love of the game to be found in a major league city".
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44 reviews
  • As a baseball fan I had to stop at the site of Forbes Field while I was visiting Pittsburg. All that remains is part of the outfield wall. Home plate is in a library building not too far away...  more »
  • Nice place to drop by for a picture and to visit an iconic piece of history in Pittsburgh sports. The location of the only walk off home run to win a world series in a game 7.  more »
  • So amazing to be able to see this piece of baseball history.
  • Great photo spot in the city remaining wall of the old Forbes field

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