Ballfields of PA: Clairton Resident Park

Clairton PA is one of the most economically distressed areas in western Pennsylvania.  Once a thriving steel town, the only thing this town has to boast is its high school football team which usually goes undefeated every year.  Their baseball team?  They usually lose every game, and last year they were 0-14.  Their school district is failing, as the only district to perform worse on the state standardized tests last year was Duquesne (which the state is closing next year).  The median house value is $49,000 -well below the average for the state which is $164,000.  There’s not much to like about Clairton right now – but I did find a nice baseball field there.

Before going to a new field for the first time, I always use google maps to check out its location and see if its a good sized field.  This field looked like a gem on the map – complete with infield grass:

This was the view when we pulled up to the ballfield:

Obviously the field’s best days were in the past, as there were signs of wear everywhere.

However, this field if cleaned up, could be very nice again.  And when I started hitting, it didn’t seem all that bad.  Check out the view from behind home plate:

And a panorama:

Its located in Clairton Resident Park, a place that should’ve been rather populated on such a nice fall day.

However, there wasn’t a soul in the whole park except for Amy, Olivia, and I.

It was rather creepy.  There was complete and utter silence.  I didn’t hear any birds or any wild life either.  It got creepier later.

But as for the field, I was surprised to see exactly how big this field was.  The left field foul pole is 342 feet from home plate!

Center Field is 400 feet:

And right field is 339′.

For perspective, PNC Park is 325′ to left and 399 to dead center.

After shaking my head wondering if I would be able to power one out of here without the power source of a pitched ball, I snapped a picture from behind second base:

And from left field:

I then dumped out 20 baseballs, stretched, and began to hit.

I tried to put everything I had into every swing, but ball after ball kept rolling to or one bouncing the left field fence.

Amy took a bunch of great pictures again, as she always does.

And Olivia just stares at me while I hit.  Its pretty funny.

Near the end of the round I got every last ounce of a ball and sent it deep towards the weeds.

I was sure that it was gone.  Until it hit the very top of the wall and stayed in.  Talk about frustrating.

In the meantime, a creepy truck pulled up, a guy got out, looked at us, and started walking down the left field line towards the foul pole.  I stopped hitting until he was out of range because I didn’t want to accidently pull one and hit him.  He disappeared into the weeds beyond the left field fence, a la the movie Field of Dreams.

He reemerged about five minutes later, the bucket he had been carrying gone.   He walked back along the foul line, hopped in his truck and left.   When I went out to pick up the balls at the left field fence, I saw this.

I guess we weren’t the only people in the park all that time after all.

After hitting, we stopped off at the mall, where I bought a bright orange Cal Ripken jersey shirt for $4.99 along with a Rickie Weeks jersey shirt for the same price.

Condition:  C
Dimensions: C (too big!)
Location/Surrounding Area:  D- (in a bad area)
Parking/Access: B+

I probably won’t ever return to this field, there’s much nicer alternatives.  However, if this field was in a better area, and the left field fence wasn’t so deep, I’d be back in a heartbeat.

Links to other fields that I’ve hit at and reviewed for the Ballparks of PA Series:
Riverfront Park, Boston
Wylie Park, Elizabeth
Peterswood Park, Peters Township
Washington Park, Washington PA
Thomas Jefferson High School Field, Jefferson Hills PA


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