Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ballpark Statues - Vol. 1 - PNC Park

Honus Wagner Statue @ PNC

Though we now think of the Pittsburgh Pirates as one of the worst teams in baseball, they have a very long history (est. 1887) with 13 hall of famers. Due to this, PNC Park has the best collection of statues in the majors. The best Pirate of them all and one of baseball's greatest players ever was Honus Wagner. His statue greets fans as they approach PNC's home plate rotunda entrance.

The statue was originally dedicated in 1955. According to the inscription on the statue's base, it was moved from Shenley Park to Three Rivers Stadium in 1972. It was later moved to its current location in 2001.

Roberto Clemente

The statue for Roberto Clemente is located at the foot of the Roberto Clemente Bridge just outside of the centerfield gate of PNC Park. Dedicated in 1994, Clemente's statue was originally outside of Three Rivers Stadium's gate B. It was moved to its present location at PNC Park in 2001.

Willie Stargell

Willie Stargell's statue is located a short distance from Clemente's by the left field gate at PNC. It was dedicated on April 7, 2001. Just two days before his death.

Bill Mazeroski

The Bill Mazeroski statue is located outside of the right field entrance of PNC Park. It was dedicated in 2010. Next to the statue is an original section of brick from Forbes Field's outfield wall with "406 FT" painted on it. His walk off home run that ended the 1960 World Series cleared the fence near the 406 FT marker.

Barney Dreyfuss Memorial

The four statues outside the park aren't the only ones at PNC. If you enter through the home plate rotunda and head up the stairs to the lower concourse, you'll be greeted by this monument to Barney Dreyfuss.

Dreyfuss was the owner of the Pirates from 1900-1932. He's credited with the creation of the modern (AL vs NL) World Series. He also headed up the development and construction of Forbes Field in the early 1900's. Forbes Field was the first "steel and concrete" stadium ever built.

This monument was placed in center field at Forbes Field after his death in 1932. It was moved to Three Rivers Stadium in 1970 and moved again to PNC Park in 2001.

Ralph Kiner's Hands

An interesting and unique sculpture sits below the pedestrian rotunda in left field. This is a bronze casting of Ralph Kiner's hands. Most Mets fans like me know Kiner as the Mets announcer since 1962, but he was also one of the best hitters of the 1950's. Kiner hit 369 homers in just ten seasons.

Carl Barger Bust

The final memorial (that I will cover here) is the Carl Barger Bust. Barger was the Pirates President from 1987-1991. He left to help get the expansion Florida Marlins off the ground. Barger died of an aneurysm in 1992, months short of the Marlins first game. A great fan of Joe DiMaggio, Barger actually has the number 5 retired in his honor by the Marlins. This bust is located behind the center field bleachers.

That's actually not it! At the entrance on the third base side of PNC Park, there is an alcove known as "Highmark Legacy Square". In this spot there are statues of seven legendary players of the Negro Leagues that played in Pittsburgh. I'll cover that at another time.

So that's a total of fourteen statues/memorials at PNC Park. I don't think any other ballpark comes close!

See pictures of these statues memorials HERE.
Check out all of my PNC Park photos HERE.

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