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This lot is part of an incredible collection of Pittsburgh Baseball Memorabilia from the 1870s–1920s. Click here to read more about this very special offering.
This bird's-eye view comes courtesy of esteemed Pittsburgh photographer Ralph W. Johnston (1873-1962), whose patrons included Gilded Age industry titans Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Mellon, Henry Clay Frick and Henry J. Heinz, and whose work now forms part of the Carnegie Museum of Art's permanent collection. According to the Museum's biography, "Johnston excelled at making large-format, highly detailed photographs of exterior and interior views of buildings. He was the first photographer in the city to use flash bulbs...[and] to make a color photograph."
Johnston's prowess with architectural photography is on full glorious display in this richly detailed panorama of the 1925 Fall Classic opener at Forbes Field. Captured from an upper-level perch in the centerfield grandstand, the sweeping scene pans nearly 360 degrees—from the close-proximity spectators, to the sun setting behind the flag-clad rafters, to the Pirate fielders in position, to the Steel City's lavish brick edifices, to the grassy knolls of Schenley Park. Indeed, with the period nostalgia of a nattily attired crowd inside and a children's "knot-hole gang" outside, Forbes Field—a.k.a., The Old Lady of Schenley Park—here transports viewers to a simpler way of life that has become nonexistent today.
What's more, an elegant gallery of 30 bust portraits along the bottom edge features manager Bill McKechnie, Pie Traynor, Kiki Cuyler, Max Carey, Fred Clarke, Babe Adams and the rest of the championship roster. The central caption—flanked by credit attribution for Ralph Johnston and Trinity Court Studio—reads, "Pittsburgh Pirates - 1925 World Champions / Pittsburgh 4 Games - VS - Washington 3 Games. / Opening Game at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Oct. 7th - Attendance 41,723."
The panorama's visible surface area measures approximately 4-1/2 feet by 1 foot within a matted-and-framed presentation spanning 5 feet x 1-1/4 feet total dimensions. Condition is Near Mint with tremendous image quality. It is noteworthy to mention that a like-sized variation sold in our November 2012 auction for over $3,200—and that was the photo alone, without the luxury addition of all the player portraits seen here.
Scarce and Exceptional 1925 World Series Pittsburgh Pirates Team Composite Panoramic Photo
Click above for larger image.