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Forbes Field: 1912

Pittsburgh circa 1912. "Entrance to Forbes Field." Grandstand admission 75 cents. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Pittsburgh circa 1912. "Entrance to Forbes Field." Grandstand admission 75 cents. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Grandstand seats

When I was a kid my dad took me to many Pirate games at Forbes Field. He started taking me in 1958 when Ted Kluszewski was first traded to the Pirates from Cincinnati. At that time good reserve seat tickets were $2.50 and bleacher seats were 50¢.

re: Is this Forbes

Here's another picture of Forbes Field. Sure looks the same to me.

Is This Forbes Field???

Beyond Forbes Field's left field was the Carnegie Library Building which was built in 1895. Where is the library building? Because of a park and the Carnegie Library there were no houses beyond left field. What park is this???

What a Ballpark!

I'm a native here but alas never had the chance to see a game in this famous park. I have a friend though a little older than I who has an actual seat from Forbes Field. A collector of sorts, he's now set his sights on a seat from the now defunct Mellon Arena.

Game Day Attire

Last weekend, I went to a college football game. I wore tennis shoes, jeans, and a cute little t-shirt with my team's colors and was very comfortable. I'm just trying to wrap my head around what it would be like to attend a sporting event dressed like the woman in the lower left corner-- a voluminous, light-colored dress and that *enormous* hat. (I also love the hat the woman in between the archways is sporting!) Of course, they would have been used to wearing that amount of clothing wherever they went, but still-- you go, ladies.

Lots going on here!

Such as the kid with the papers in the foreground...I can almost hear him saying to the other kid, "G'wan, get outta here ... I'm woikin' dis side of da street!" And, as for the trash in the gutters, no worse than you'd see in the parking lot of one of today's major stadiums after a big game. And speaking of parking lots, how about the one in this photo? A single row that stretches around the stadium. Shouldn't have any problem finding your car after the game. And the way the fans are dressed is great. No face painters or painted shirtless beer swillers either. Oh, and you guys up there on the beer crates ... be careful!

More Flag Minutiae

Some tricolor flags may be Pittsburgh City flags. The flag on the top ledge above the man on the crate appears to be a City of Pittsburgh flag. Two flags above the glass archway to the far right bottom of the photo may be city flags also.


I love the perspective of the long line of brass-era automobiles all lined up for us in this photo, and the contrast of the one lone horse and buggy. Also, there seems to be a teenager sitting in the car closest to us, but I can't tell if he's behind the wheel or not. He's probably as anxious to get his license as the teenaged boys of today - some things never change! One of my favorite photos on Shorpy. Thanks Dave!

The Fine Print

Each of the the large shields has lists in each of the white columns. Are these "memorial," "ceremonial"? I could make several guesses. Any insight?

Precarious Perches

Note that there is a wall to keep you from falling. The crate sitters are on top of the wall.

Never a No-No

There was never a single no-hitter thrown in Forbes Field in the 61 seasons it existed. It was also the site of Babe Ruth's last 3 home runs (May 25, 1935), when he played for the Boston Braves.

75 cents

Adjusted for inflation, the same ticket would cost you around $17 today. Interestingly, current grandstand tickets for Pirate games now cost anywhere from $9 to $16.

Flags & Bunting & new construction

Every June or July in the early years of Forbes Field, the Pittsburg Press hosted the Tri-State Track and Field Meet there. News accounts describe the stadium as "bedecked by flags and bunting" for the event. In 1912 there was considerable new construction. The entire playing field was relocated to move the foul line relative to the left-field bleachers. The first-tier seating was also revised, which entailed the pouring of concrete and installation of new railings. The first tier would be what looks like the second story from the outside of the stadium.

[A few tricolor flags here. They look French or Italian. - Dave]

Dignified Patrons

A refreshing scene, so different from modern sporting events. Note the complete absence of team-logo knockoff merchandise. There may be a heckler or two in the crowd, but the drunken, swearing fans of today would be tossed from that stadium tout de suite.

Boy with Bundle

Boy to the right has a bundle of sticklike things. Assume he is selling them, but what the heck are they?

[Rattan balloon sticks or pennant canes. - Dave]


Fans just gathered at the site of the former Forbes last week to listen to a rebroadcast of Bill Mazeroski's series winning home run on its 50th anniversary. The site is currently part of The University of Pittsburgh campus, and home plate is still on the ground (covered in protective plexi) in the floor of the building that takes up most of the space. (When I attended a few years back, legend had it that they had to move it a few feet though, otherwise it would have been in a closet.) Finally, if you're ever in Pittsburgh, check out the Miniature Railroad and Village at Carnegie Science Center -- they made an exquisitely detailed to-scale replica of Forbes Field, and used dust from a donated original brick to make the infield!

__field Motor Co.

What is the name of the Motor Company in the background?

[Bellefield Motor Co. - Dave]

50 years ago this month

Bill Mazeroski hit the only World Series Game Seven walk-off home run at Forbes Field to lead the Pirates to victory against the Yankees.

Ancestrial Slobs

Our Ancestors weren't too concerned with littering. Those gutters are filled with trash!

Flag Display Days

May 31, 1912, Decoration Day, later known as Memorial Day, The Pirates played the Cincinnati Reds at home with a 6-2 win.

Fourth of July 1912, Pittsburgh played The Cincinnati Reds again at Forbes Field and won the game 3-2.

I tried to find Honus Wagner in the crowd but figured he was already on the field.

Child Labor

I spot 3 young vendors in the crowd. This could have been a Lewis Hine shot.


The flags make me think it's during a World Series, which would mean 1909 is more likely than 1912.

[1909 flags wouldn't have 48 stars. - Dave]

Watch behind you!

It's sometimes amazing to look at these old photos and wonder about how safety standards 100 years ago were so different. There are folks sitting on the second tier, one guy on what looks like a crate -- with no support to prevent anyone sitting or standing at the rear from falling with just one simple mistake. Absolutely remarkable to see that.

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