Many years ago, when I was not so knowledgeable about baseball’s past, I was looking through a book and found a picture of old Forbes Field, where the Pittsburgh Pirates played their home games before moving into Three Rivers Stadium in 1970. The black-and-white photo showed a game in-progress as seen from the right field seats; what caught my attention was the obviously phony image of a skyscraper in the background, poorly crammed into the existing photo by some overzealous artist who didn’t care at all about realism.
I mean, c’mon! Was I supposed to think the ballpark was located in some empty section of downtown, where only one skyscraper had been built? It reminded me of those postcards I’d find in gas stations during vacation drives across the Midwest, showing a rabbit with antlers or a man standing next to a strawberry the size of a semi truck. I mean, pretty ridiculous, right?
Well, very ridiculous, I’d thought…until I found out the building was real! As I eventually discovered, Forbes Field was located next to the University of Pittsburgh campus, and the building in question was—and still is—known as the Cathedral of Learning, a 42-story steel-and-limestone monolith that’s home to over two thousand classrooms, labs, and administrative offices. And it did indeed tower menacingly over the left-field side of the ballpark as the photo depicts, and though I’m now aware the building actually exists, I still have a hard time believing what I’m seeing.
Anyway, I’m mentioning all of this for two reasons. The first has to do with an SP78 game I played the previous summer here in Arizona, at the living room table of my apartment. As usual during the summer months, it was quite warm outside, and being on the second floor, my place tends to attract the heat more so than usual, even with the a/c running. Not wanting to sweat all over the day’s festivities, I brought my desktop fan out from the bedroom and set it up next to the game board…and immediately realized how closely the scene resembled that photo of Forbes Field I’d seen years earlier:
Now, the second reason for this post relates to a photo I’d found that day years ago, which proved to me the existence of the Cathedral of Learning. I wanted to share this photo with you, because to me it’s one of the coolest baseball photographs I’ve ever seen, taken during the seventh game of the 1960 World Series between the Yankees and the host Pirates. Take a good look at the photo below; besides the obvious awesome vantage point for watching a game, look at where these fans are standing, and how close they are to the ledge…and there’s no fence or rail to hold them back!
A bygone moment from a bygone time, that sadly we’ll never see again…unless, of course, you visit my apartment in July, and watch me play a game on my living room table, where my Oscillating Fan of Learning still towers over—and cools—the SP78 playing field below it.