Crosley Field and Forbes Field
If you find it, they will come
Thomas Wolfe wrote that you can never go home again, and in some baseball cases that's very true. Some of the most famous ballparks of all time are gone. But bits and pieces of some remain.
Cincinnati's 1912 Crosley Field, the predecessor to Riverfront Stadium (now Cinergy Field), saw major league baseball's first night game on May 24, 1935. Its last game was in 1970, and it was dismantled in 1972. But Crosley is one field you can return to -- it has been rebuilt on a farm near Union, Kentucky, and a full-size replica graces Blue Ash, Ohio.
Parts of Pittsburgh's 1909 Forbes Field can be visited as well -- including home plate, now under glass in the floor of the University of Pittsburgh's Forbes Quadrangle. A hallway in the building approximates the path from third to home, and students have been known to play make-believe, throwing runners out at the plate on the Quadrangle's tile floor.
Outside the Quadrangle is a portion of wall that made up the outfield fence -- and a sidewalk bearing a plaque where Pirate Bill Mazeroski socked a home run to win Game Seven of the World Series against the New York Yankees.
"457 ft." is painted on another section of the remaining wall -- marking an impossibly deep left-center field. Pirate "Chief" Owen Wilson racked up many of his 36 triples -- to set a major league season record in 1912 -- by knocking balls into the distant outfield. Forbes' outfield was so deep, the batting cage was stored there during games.
The stadium is enshrined in celluloid -- the original "Angels in the Outfield" was filmed there in 1951.
Forbes Field was not only home to the Pirates -- the Negro League Homestead Grays played there from 1930 to 1948.
One more bit of Forbes trivia: A no-hitter was never thrown in the park.
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