Forbes Field was a baseball venue located in Oakland, a neighborhood in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The stadium opened in 1909, and it was closed down in 1970, after which it was eventually demolished to make room for new facility. Forbes Field was the third home to the local MLB team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was also the primary home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which was the city’s NFL team. In addition to that, the stadium was also home of the Panthers, the team that belongs to the University of Pittsburgh. The name of the stadium derives from Forbes Avenue, adjacent to the venue. The street itself was actually named after John Forbes, a French and Indian War veteran who was responsible for naming the city of Pittsburgh!
The ballpark was built by the Pirates’ owner, Barney Dreyfuss. He had the aim of replacing Exposition Park, which was considered obsolete by that time, and could no longer cater to the needs of a growing team as well as greater demand from the audience. In addition to that, the new stadium was going to be built out of concrete and steel, becoming one of the very first stadiums (actually the first in the National League and the third in Major League Baseball) to be built this way. Right now, steel and concrete are pretty much basics when it comes to constructing most large venues. However, it was considered quite a big upgrade back then considering that most venue were meant to be temporary in nature, and were often built with cheaper materials that were not exactly designed to last. What made the design of Forbe Field quite special if that the stadium featured a fairly large playing structure. This was quite convenient especially considering the fact that the stadium was home to several sporting teams - not only baseball, but also football. Although the park has been demolished in 1971, some “ruins” of the former ballparks are still out there, in the vicinity of the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. It has become quite common for fans to actually gather on the site and celebrate the anniversary of Bill Mazeroski’s World Series winning home run, which is still considered to be one of the most iconic and highly celebrated events in the history of baseball. It is often considered to be a highlight in MLB, and the fact that many people still gather on the site to commemorate it speaks volume about its legacy as well as the city’s passion for the sport. In spite of the scheduled demolition, many people in the community tried to salvage the historic structure, proposing alternative plans, such as turning the stadium into grounds for farmers markets, or apartment complexes.
Forbes Field had a charming look and it was consistently praised as a really good stadium. However, after about 60 years of intensive use, it was starting to show some signs of its age, and it was simply not on par with modern standards. Forbes Field, at the time of its demolition, was the second oldest baseball field still in use in the league, second only to Philadelphia’s Shibe Park, which was even older and was replaced coincidentally the same exact year, in 1971.
In addition to football and baseball games, Forbes Field hosted a wide variety of other events, including some boxing matches.