1B Dr. Strangeglove: Dick Stuart
SS Dick Groat
3B Don Hoak
LF Bob Skinner
CF Bill Virdon
C Smokey Burgess
Hal Smith: Hit the home run which tied the game that Maz won.
P Bob Friend, Vern Law: reliable and incredible.
Vinegar Bend Mizell
Well, that's why I love the game. It is the perfect metaphor and when done well, defines grace...a team game that is played one on one. Owners and players? They may own the bricks and the bats, the talent and the concessions-- but they don't own the game. That belongs to all of us.
Being from Canada, I wasn't able to visit Forbes Field often. I first went in 1960, and saw one game. My Dad and I had seats in the lower deck of the rightfield grandstand. The Pirates won 1-0 over the Giants. Clemente made a great catch and injured his face running into the concrete wall right below us. I remember thinking how neat it was to be able to leave the park by walking over the field and through the exit gate in right-centre.
I next got back in 1966, saw three games against the Cards and Braves. I got to see the automatic tarp deployed when it rained one evening. I stayed at the nearby Webster Hall Hotel, and hung around the park each day for hours. I saw most of the Bucs come and go, including my heroes, Clemente (he talked to me!), Maz, Starg, Law, Alley.
In subsequent baseball trips to Pittsburgh, I, then my wife and I and now, my son and I, always go to what is left of the wall, see the Maz homer plaque, and step on home plate in the University building.
On our last visit, my son noticed some bricks, half buried in the ground near what remains of a support for the old rightfield grandstand. I returned to the car, got the tire changing iron and dug and pried one of the bricks to the surface. I hoped it was part of the old wall, displaced by the wrecking crew and never picked up. I brushed it off and took it to the car.
At the game that night, we learned Bill Mazeroski would be at Monroeville Mall signing autographs at the Pirate Clubhouse store. My son and I were able to join and line and got our turn. My son presented his 8" x 10" for Maz's signature and then it was my turn. I put the brick in front of Maz, who looked up, laughed and gladly signed it. It's on the office shelf as I write this. I think it's a unique souvenir of Forbes Field.
Chatham, Ontario, Canada
Pirate fan since 1957
I have a lot of affection for the old ballpark in Pittsburgh. I was 10 years old in 1970. I lived about 25 miles east of Pittsburgh, but the big city was SO far away from the farm in Murrysville (or so it seemed in those days). I was a Pirate fan as a kid, but I didn't get to a game until June 1970 - It was bat day and Dad and Mom took all us kids (5 of us - I'm the youngest). We all, or most of us, got a regular bat as we went in. On my last trip home to PA - I saw one of those bats still at the farm house. It had Roberto's name stamped on the end of the barrel. I told my sister to put that bat aside somewhere; there are a lot of memories in that Louisville Slugger.
At the end of June 1970, they played the last game at Forbes. It was a double header against the Cubs. Several of my siblings, my neighbors, and I all went. I helped to close down the Old Lady - I guess that's why she means so much to me. It was a good crowd that day. I remember sitting on top of a storage shed that overlooked the "alley" between the infield seats and left field bleachers. It was a great day; the Bucs swept the double header that day, Maz recorded the final out of the old park by fielding a grounder to second and stepping on the bag; I took some green ivy off the left-center field wall that hung in my room for YEARS until it was nothing more than dried sticks and leaves; my brother took home a Box Seat that I think is still in the barn.....
What do I miss about old Forbes Field? The real grass, the brick wall, the manual scoreboard, the left field line bleachers, General Admission seats close to the field... oh yeah, and the sleeve-less uniform jerseys with black T-shirts; I think the team ought to revive them.
Yes, lots of memories there in old Forbes Field. I guess it helps me to remember back to when I was 10 and the Bucs were winning their first championship in a decade too. I revisited at Christmas '95 (for the first time since June 1970) the ballpark site in Oakland. My brother (38) and his two kids (4,7), my sister's two kids (13 year old twins), my wife and I made the trip. Despite the cold and snow, I HAD to stand near the '457 sign and remember. I took some photos that I'll add to my home page this week. Ahhh, it was nice to visit an old friend - and for a few brief moments, I was 10 years old again.
My first game was at age 5 in 1966 to see our Buccos beat the Braves. Roberto hit an inside the park homerun. I'll always remember watching him run the bases and his unbelievable arm. Forbes was great and I even remember walking on the field behind homeplate after each game.
Jim Powers JCPPSU@aol.com
Lacking a good memory for baseball details, my most memorable experiences were when the Pirates won a game, or at least in consolation, Ralph Kiner hit a home run in the early 50's. Because Dick Groat grew up in Swissvale next door to me, I always had a special feeling when he played well--whether hitting to the opposite field or turning a double play with Maz. I was also in the stands when Dale Long hit his 7th? consecutive home run that broke the record and made him the hero for the season. (As you can see, I don't remember the actual number.) The excitement of the fans, including me, was amazing. I wish I was one the 10 million fans who were actually in Forbes Field when Maz hit his World Series winning home run in 1960, but I was in Meadville listening on the radio. Nevertheless, that was my most memorable Pirate experience.
More recently, in 1992, my two sons and I saw the Pirates beat the Phillies on a beautiful day in good seats on the first base side. What made that memorable was that then candidate Bill Clinton was seated a few rows directly in front of us with a Pirate cap on. We ordered our hot dogs right after he did. Neither my sons nor I have ever been that close to a President before or since -- all enjoying that wonderful team play. However, in the true spirit of the game, the most important thing was that the Pirates won.
Beat 'em Bucs - Glenn
My dad took me to Donora, PA, one night when Stan Musial (a native of that little town), came home for a home run derby contest. Stan and another Cardinal (don't remember who) paired off against two Pirates. I can only remember that the one was Bob Skinner. Cards won big as Stan blasted several huge shots. I got to meet Musial briefly afterwards.
My wife and I met Al Oliver and his wife at the Racquet Club in the South Hills. We were watching this guy play the club champion. The champ looked like a chump. This other guy was killing him with a wicked right-handed backhand shot. We said he looked like Al Oliver. When he turned around, he was wearing a shirt that said "Scoop". We then realized it was Al. He was left-handed but played racquet ball right handed. I asked him why and he said because it maximized his backhand as it was the same as his batting stroke. He was an awesome player. Big, strong, and fast. He made the regular guys look like little kids. Al took some time with us and was a very pleasant person.
I had ACL surgery done by Dr. Ferguson of Ferguson & Faila (Pirates team orthopaedics guys) and was rehab'd by Ken Biggerstaff. I even got to work out with Rafael Belliard.
I managed Little League with a guy named Alan Face. At sign up (his daughter Ellen was a player), I asked, "Any relation to Elroy?" To which he replied, "Yes, he's my uncle." You could have knocked me over with a feather. He says he has some home movies of himself as a kid at spring training. One set is of the Pirates spring training game against the Yankees in 1961. He has film of himself, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris walking across the field at Bradenton. He said he got to sit in the dugout with Casey Stengel. When Stengel found out he was related to Elroy Face, Casey asked the kid to sit with him and tell him all about the Pirates and who was hurting. Casey never missed a chance.
Best of all, is the chance to have a son who bleeds black and gold just like the old man.
I remember how far that Honus Wagner monument was from left field, and was amazed because I knew Clemente had hit a home run that bounced to it. I was still pretty young, and it seemed like a long walk from the seats out to the monument near where our car was parked.
My first major league foul ball, which my Uncle Fred caught and gave to me during batting practice one game. I was maybe 10. Uncle Fred had huge hands, and he caught it on a bounce from our 3rd base box seats.
However, my most memorable game was in the 60's. I was probably about 14, and was with my 20 year old cousin Freddie, his girlfriend and her brother (who was the same age as me). St. Louis vs Pittsburgh. Bob Gibson was pitching for the Cardinals. I don't remember who pitched for the Pirates (maybe Veale again), but it was a real pitcher's duel. There was no score in the 2nd or 3rd inning and the Cards had a runner on 1st. There was a line drive down the right field line, and Clemente disappeared from my view (I was sitting in the 2nd deck just on the outfield side of 1st base). The runner from 1st was on his way home before I saw the ball again, but Clemente had thrown a perfect one bounce strike to home. The runner was out.
Later, in the 5th or 6th, it was still no score and the situation was the same. Again the runner tried to score from 1st on the double, and again The Great Roberto threw him out at the plate.
But what I remember most was the 9th inning. There was still no score, and neither team was getting many chances to score runs. There were 2 outs and a runner on 1st when the batter hit a double down the line. Clemente disappeared again, and the go-ahead (and would-be winning) run was rounding 2nd and ready to head for home.
I was amazed that, in that situation, the 3rd base coach held the runner on third. But it soon became obvious that he had made the right decision. This time Clemente's throw didn't even bounce into the catcher's mitt. The catcher (probably Pags) caught it between his waist and his knees right over the plate. That runner was left stranded on 3rd, but he would have been DOA at home.
The game was won in the 10th. I'm pretty sure the Pirates won, but I don't even remember how the run was scored. I'll never forget those three throws, though. And I'll never forget the respect that Clemente got in that 9th inning and how he proved that he deserved that respect.
Tom "Toads" Rhoads
My closest brush with Pirates that I can remember is one time my aunt and I were behind Bob Prince at the car wash. He got out of his car and had on one of his trademark plaid coats.
Go back to Glenn's Home Page