PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s safe to say, few people are as happy as Tom Murphy is to the Pirates finally thrive – to see winning baseball – in front of sellout crowds at PNC Park.
When he was a new mayor in 1995, the city faced a moment of reckoning – build a new ballpark, or risk losing professional baseball.
“I’m here today to announce also the formation of a local committee, Forbes Field Two task force,” said Murphy.
Fall of ’95 – the Pirates’ fabled losing streak was only three seasons old, but the end of the whole game looked near.
A new owner – Kevin McClatchy – was willing to invest in the team, but a new ballpark had to be part of the mix.
Political leaders cobbled together the financing, but there was strong opposition to using public money.
Some people cursed the mayor for pushing it through — that was then.
“I was at breakfast today and four people came up to me and thanked me,” Murphy said.
On this weekend’s KD-PG Sunday Edition, Murphy remembers that turbulent time – and the dreams that fueled his resolve.
He remembers his thoughts when he saw the first of the new generation of ballparks – like Jacobs Field in Cleveland and Camden Yards in Baltimore.
“I saw Forbes Field,” he said. “In the sense that, when we were kids and we went to Forbes Field, there was no parking near Forbes Field you walked through Oakland. The bars, the restaurants, people selling you stuff. Going to the ballpark, leaving the ballpark was an experience in itself for a kid and I felt strongly we needed to recreate that experience.”
You can find out more with Murphy and Post-Gazette columnist Brian O’Neill on the KD-PG Sunday Edition, Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. on KDKA.