As part of our new collection, Baseball Cathedrals - today we introduce you to the home of the Homestead Grays - Forbes Field.
BIRTH OF A BASEBALL CATHEDRAL
Forbes Field was born in 1909, and survived until 1970. The $1 million project was designed to replace Exposition Park. The field featured a very large playing surface, that was able to house a batting cage in the deepest part of center field during games. Forbes Fields original capacity was 25,000, but was eventually increased to 41,000.
The Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues played there from 1922-1939. 1930 saw the debut of Josh Gibson. The first night game was played in 1930 against the Kansas City Monarchs.
The first batter at Forbes Field was future Hall of Famer Johnny Evers, the Cubs second baseman. He was hit by a pitch.
Forbes Field was scheduled to be demolished until a community group attempted to rescue the structure proposing other uses. The abandoned structure suffered from two fires with the second causing the stadium to finally be demolished.
The University of Pittsburgh football team used the stadium led by Hall of Fame coaches Joe Thompson, Pop Warner and Jock Sutherland.
Forbes Field was the scene of a broadcasting first when in 1921, Harold W. Arlin announced the first live play-by-play of the Pitt-West Virginia football game on radio station KDKA.
Art Rooney founded the Pittsburgh Steelers (originally the Pirates) who played at Forbes Field.
Forbes Field would host many boxing events including bouts featuring Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott, Harry Greb, and Bill Conn.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
In 2019, British Artist Andy Brown became the first to paint all 30 MLB ballparks live during a single season. To date he has painted over 90 ballparks, in 9 countries, all within 9 innings. This collection celebrates the Baseball Cathedrals of the Negro Leagues. Within his work he aims to capture the atmosphere and experience of the ballpark along with their importance to our collective identity, history and culture. His work has received recognition from the BBC, ESPN, MLB Network, Fox Sports, Buckingham Palace and others. It is also held in the collections of museums, teams, fans and art lovers worldwide - there is also a question about his work in the board game Trivial Pursuit.
Graphic Design by Jillian Brown