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Forbes Field Memories

July 8, 2009 - John Mehno

As the Pirates celebrate the 100th anniversary of Forbes Field, some odd things to note about the old ballpark:

--Although the view of the downtown skyline at PNC Park is spectacular, the pastoral vista of Schenley Park’s trees beyond Forbes Field’s walls was quite picturesque, too.

--Visiting players used to amuse themselves by trying to throw baseballs through specific openings in the big left field scoreboard during batting practice. Sometimes there was money riding on the contests.

--Concessionaire Myron O’Brisky provided free gum to the workers who filled bags with peanuts. Far from being benevolent, O’Brisky knew that workers who were chewing a one-cent piece of gum weren’t feasting on a quarter’s worth of peanuts.

--The storied left field bleachers may have been a good bargain, but they weren’t good seats. The discomfort of the wooden planks was enhanced when fans had to sit slightly sideways to see the batter.

--Center field was so deep at 457 feet that the batting cage was parked there during games. Bob Friend, who pitched for the Pirates from 1951-65, couldn’t recall an instance when the cage came into play during a game.

--Forbes Field never had a no-hitter. Bob Moose came the closest, holding Houston without a hit for 7 and 2/3 innings on June 14, 1968. Julio Gotay singled, and Moose wound up with a two-hitter, winning 3-0. Moose no-hit the Mets in New York on Sept. 20, 1969, and St. Louis’ Bob Gibson threw one against the Pirates on Aug. 14, 1971, the 102nd regular season game played at Three Rivers Stadium.

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