2003: Exposition Park
stood Honus Wagner, one hundred years ago this month, facing Cy
Young in the very first World Series.
parking lot on Pittsburgh's North Shore (on the southwest corner of
West General Robinson Street and Tony Dorsett Drive) was once the
site of Exposition Park, the home field of the Pittsburgh Pirates
from 1891 until 1909. This summer, I took the panoramic photo
above, adding the baselines from home to third and from home to first
so that you can visualize the diamond.
as now, in the background were the three rivers, and beyond the
rivers was Mount Washington with its wooded slopes and inclined railways.
1903, Honus Wagner was the star shortstop for Pittsburg (as it was
spelled then). Cy Young was the veteran pitcher for the Boston
team in the upstart American League (then known as the "Boston
Americans" or Pilgrims, now called the Red Sox). Young was
the winning pitcher in Games 5 and 7 of the inaugural World Series,
played here on October 7 and 10. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
has more details; click here.
1909, explaining that "patrons were no longer willing to put up
with 19th century conditions" in a wooden ballpark, the Pirates
left this area for the new Forbes Field in the city's Oakland
section. But the move was temporary, lasting only 61
years. The team returned to the North Shore to play in Three
Rivers Stadium from 1970 to 2000. Three Rivers used to be
located on the right edge of this panorama, next to the new football
stadium, Heinz Field.
the left edge of the panorama, roughly in the location of Exposition
Park's third-base grandstand, we now see the ramps leading to the
Fort Duquesne Bridge. Another block to the left lies the
Pirates' present field, PNC Park.
members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) have surveyed
the old site, marking the position of home plate and the other bases.
ground here is higher than it was a century ago. It used to be
only a few feet above river level, and the outfield sometimes was flooded.
is going on all around the Exposition Park site, and the inscription
on home plate has worn away. However, the parking lot hasn't
been torn up yet, and the markings are still there.
Google Earth surveyed the scene from space in 2005, the plate (at
the lower left) and the bases were visible as the four white dots you
ground level, we can see that the new construction includes an
office building along the Allegheny River.
Del Monte Center (another view here)
occupies the area where Exposition Park's left field fence used to be.
distance down the left field line was 400 feet. Stepping it
off from home plate, we find that the foul pole was located inside
the part of the building that is now FSN Pittsburgh's studio!
is a Google Earth overview of the area, with the old playing field superimposed.
the left is PNC Park beside the Roberto Clemente Bridge. On
the right is Heinz Field. And between them, beside the Fort
Duquesne Bridge, is the site of the old ballpark.
I'm told that Pitt (the University of Pittsburgh, then known as
Western University of Pennsylvania) played its first football game
ever at Exposition Park on October 11, 1890.
are some historical views of Exposition Park.
expand the capacity of the grandstands, additional rows of seats
were installed on top of the roof.
the similarities to PNC Park: the Allegheny River is not far
beyond the outfield, and the fans have a view of the Downtown skyline.
huge industrial building in the background below has been torn down,
and the site is now part of Point State Park.