Forbes Field

Forbes Field, nestled in the heart of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, stands as a beloved monument in the annals of baseball history. As the third-oldest park in Major League Baseball history at the time of its closure, it served as the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates for over six decades and witnessed some of the most iconic moments in baseball lore.

Stadium Facts about Forbes Field

  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Opened On: June 30, 1909
  • Closed On: June 28, 1970
  • Home Team: Pittsburgh Pirates (National League)
  • Stadium Nicknames: N/A
  • Dimensions: Left Field – 365 feet, Center Field – 442 feet, Right Field – 300 feet
  • Capacity: Originally around 25,000; expanded to over 35,000
  • Attendance Record: 44,932 (World Series, 1960)
  • Surface: Grass
  • Architect: Charles Wellford Leavitt, Jr.
  • Owner: Pittsburgh Pirates

The History

Forbes Field, named after General John Forbes, who captured Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War, was a pioneering structure in the history of baseball stadiums. Opened in 1909, it was one of the first steel and concrete stadiums, marking a departure from the wooden ballparks prevalent at the time. This innovative design set a precedent for future ballpark construction.

The stadium was the scene of many historic baseball moments, including the storied 1960 World Series. Forbes Field also played a significant role in the cultural and social life of Pittsburgh, serving as a beloved community landmark for sports fans and residents alike.

Design and Features

Forbes Field’s design was ahead of its time, featuring a double-decked grandstand extending from first base around to third base and a spacious outfield. The park’s notable architectural elements included its distinctive façade and the large scoreboard in right field, which became iconic symbols of the park.

The field was known for its deep center field and the ivy-covered brick outfield wall, which added a unique charm and challenge to the game. The ballpark’s layout and dimensions influenced many aspects of play, creating a distinctive home-field advantage for the Pirates.


Over its lifespan, Forbes Field underwent several renovations to adapt to the evolving needs of baseball and its fans. These included the expansion of seating capacity, the addition of lights for night games in 1940, and various structural and aesthetic enhancements.

Despite these changes, Forbes Field retained much of its original character and continued to be revered for its classic baseball atmosphere. The balance between maintaining its historic essence and adapting to modern standards was a constant theme throughout the park’s history.


Forbes Field’s facilities were characteristic of its era, focusing more on the game and less on luxury amenities. The concessions offered traditional ballpark fare, and the seating, though not as comfortable as in modern stadiums, provided fans with an intimate baseball experience.

The park was known for its lack of extensive parking and modern comforts, which over time contributed to discussions about the need for a new, more modern facility for the Pirates. Despite these limitations, Forbes Field was cherished for its history and the unique atmosphere it provided.

Memorable Moments at Forbes Field

  • Bill Mazeroski’s 1960 World Series Walk-Off Home Run: A legendary moment in baseball history.
  • First Night Game in Pittsburgh: Illuminating the field in 1940.
  • Babe Ruth’s Last Three Home Runs: Ruth hit his final three home runs at Forbes Field in 1935.
  • The 1925 and 1960 World Series: Hosting the Pirates’ triumphant World Series victories.
  • Roberto Clemente’s Achievements: The field witnessed many of Clemente’s career highlights.

Interesting Baseball History at Forbes Field

  • Hosting Two All-Star Games: Showcasing the park in 1944 and 1959.
  • Integration of the Pirates: Forbes Field was the stage for some of the pivotal moments in the integration of baseball.
  • Historic Rivalries: The venue for many memorable games against National League rivals.
  • Decades of Pirates Baseball: The park witnessed the evolution of the Pirates over several decades.

Non-Baseball Events

Beyond baseball, Forbes Field served as a venue for other events, reflecting its role as a multi-use facility. It hosted football games, including those of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, and various large gatherings and events, making it an integral part of Pittsburgh’s cultural and entertainment scene. These events underscored the stadium’s versatility and importance as a landmark in the city.