The Pittsburgh Pirates moved
into their new home at PNC Park in the spring of 2001. The stadium,
which replaced Three Rivers Stadium, was built next to the Sixth Street
Bridge, now known as the Roberto Clemente Bridge. The span is closed
on game days to vehicular traffic. This new state-of-the-art complex gave
the Pittsburgh Pirates the means necessary to remain financially viable in
the ever-fickle world of Major League Baseball, not to mention presenting
another startling scenic addition to the Pittsburgh riverfront.
PNC Park is loaded with
amenities and attractions that add to the experience of going to a baseball
game. There are several fine restaurants and it's hard to find a seat with
a bad view. The stadium is a throwback to the old ballyards, and rated as
one of the finest in the league. The Pittsburgh skyline provides a wonderful
backdrop. In the evening, the city lights shine brightly, adding luster to
a spectacular visual experience. PNC Park is a great place to watch a
The Roberto Clemente monument stands
next to the bridge that bears his name.
The stadium has all natural
turf and the game setting is in many ways similar to the Forbes
Field era of Pirate
baseball, with all the benefits of 21st century technology. The complex
is full of reminders that honor the Pirates long heritage. Bronze statues
of Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargell, Honus Wagner and Roberto Clemente adorn
the entrances and banners depicting other Pirate greats line the adjacent
streets. Inside are monuments honoring the heritage of the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays.
The Honus Wagner monument stands
at the main entrance to PNC Park.
The addition of PNC Park
and Heinz Field, the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, to the north shore
has spurred development along the riverfront. The transformation has
redrawn the city landscape. The Pirates hope that the classic look of
PNC Park helps spur their transition back into a playoff contender. It's
time to bring alive that classic Bucco magic experienced when Roberto,
The Lumber Company, Captain Willie and The Family helped make Three Rivers
For More Interesting
Facts on Pittsburgh Sports Stadiums (past and present),
visit Fun Facts About Pittsburgh's Ball
Wikipedia: PNC Park.
Concerts, Festivals and Skyblasts
PNC Park is also home to several
other events, like concerts and festivals. In September, 2005, the
Rolling Stones brought their massive stage and rocked the 'Burgh with
their time honored classics. The show was a sellout, and thousands of
other fans lined the north shore to get a taste of rock 'n roll history.
Several times during the season, the Pirates will put on a show called
SkyBlast. A concert is held after the game, followed by a stunning
Fireworks light up the sky during SkyBlast
at PNC Park - May 2005.
The Four Ballparks on the North Shore
The four stadiums that have occupied the
north shore since 1890. Exposition Park stood until 1915.
Three Rivers was there from 1968 to 2001. The current stadiums, PNC Park
and Heinz Field,
were both built in 2000. Each of the stadiums has a rich Pittsburgh sports
Thanks to Doug Brendel for creating the four-ballpark image.
The Bill Mazeroski Monument
A Tribute To Maz - September 5, 2010
* Article written by Clint
Burton for publication by Matthews International - September 2010 *
The Pittsburgh Pirates began their 124th
year in Major League baseball at the start of the 2010 season. The franchise has
built a proud legacy over the years, with five World Series championships and
forty-one Hall of Fame members. Among the vast array of Pirate memories there
was one moment that seemed to define the spirit of the organization and the
pride of the Pittsburgh community.
It happened on October 13, 1960. It was
Game Seven of the World Series. The underdog Pirates were playing the mighty
New York Yankees. The game was tied 9-9 when the Pirates came to bat in the bottom
half of the ninth inning. The leadoff batter was 24-year old Bill Mazeroski,
a fourth-year second baseman known more for his outstanding fielding abilities
than his power at the plate.
Mazeroski swung at the second pitch. He
hit a long drive towards left-center field. Yankee outfielder Yogi Berra followed
the ball to the wall and watched as it flew over the 406-foot marker. With one
swing, Mazeroski crowned the Pirates World Champions. It was the "shot heard
'round the 'Burgh." It became the most treasured moment in Pittsburgh
On September 5, 2010, as part of the 50th
anniversary celebration of the 1960 World Series Championship, the Pirate
organization unveiled a 12-foot bronze statue of Bill Mazeroski outside the
right-field entrance to PNC Park. The pose for the statue is of Maz rounding
second base after hitting the home run, culled from a photograph by the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's James G. Klingensmith.
Erected on a cul-de-sac at the end of
Mazeroski Way, the monument is part of a larger display that includes a concrete
base, shaped and colored to resemble infield dirt. An enlarged second-base bag
includes historical information about the tribute, and a section of the original
Forbes Field wall, over which the ball sailed into history, serves as a
The statue was created by Pittsburgh
sculptor Susan Wagner, who also made the Roberto Clemente (1994) and Willie
Stargell (2001) monuments that adorn the entranceways to PNC Park. Clemente's
statue stands at the center-field entrance and Stargell's is at the left-field
gate. A fourth statue of Honus Wagner (1955), stands at the home plate
Matthews International was chosen by the
Pirates to cast the statue. It was sculpted at Matthews IDL Worldwide location
in East Butler. The actual bronze cast was made at Matthews' Caggiati plant in
Italy. Transported to the PNC Park location in two parts, the statue and display
were erected during July and August at a cost of $450,000.
<See Construction Photos>
The eagerly anticipated September 5th
"Tribute to Maz" occurred prior to the Pirates game against the Washington
Nationals. The date was chosen not only to coincide with the 50th anniversary
festivities, but also to honor Bill Mazeroski on his 74th birthday.
Plans for the tribute were announced on
January 29, 2010, with Pirate owner Bob Nutting presenting Mazeroski with a
14-inch model of the proposed statue.
"Bill's story is so inspirational, not
only for his Hall of Fame career but also for the way he has continued to
represent himself and the Pirates," Nutting said. "I'm thrilled that, soon,
our fans will have a special place outside PNC Park to remember and share his
Mazeroski's playing career lasted 17
seasons, from 1956 to 1972. He was an eight-time Gold Glove winner, seven-time
All-Star, twice World Champion and holder of several Major League records for
second baseman. His uniform (#9) was retired in 1987 and he was elected into
the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.
At the January announcement, Mazeroski
reflected, "All I wanted to do was play Major League baseball. I played in the
All-Star game. I played in the World Series. I hit a home run that every little
kid dreams of and fifty years later, they're still proud and still talking about
it. I got my number retired and, geez, I got in the Hall of Fame. You get a street
named after you. How can life get better than this?"
Now, Bill Mazeroski has a statue that's
twice his size in real life. What better tribute to a man who became a hero to
generations and an icon to the city that will forever adore him.
more about MAZ, Forbes Field
and The Shot Heard 'Round The 'Burgh
Construction Photos (July-August 2010)
* Photos provided by
Jessie Cook, Terry Feathers and Doug Brendel *