Ballfields of PA: West Field (Homestead Grays)

Recently, I visited one of the more historical fields that I have ever played on, West Field in Munhall.  The field is located along West Street between Homestead and Munhall.  Many years ago, the Homestead Grays of the Negro League played at this field.  Here is an article from the Post Gazette.

It talks about how a local man served as a bat boy at West Field and rubbed elbows with the likes of Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell.  Pretty interesting stuff.

I had once lived just a mile from this field for five years and never once visited or played on it.  I had only heard bad things about it – most notably that Mark McGwire on steroids would have a tough time hitting a home run here.

Check out the dimensions:

It’s exactly 358 feet to left field.  That’s deep.
It’s about 750 feet to center field.  That’s ridiculous.  And its about 390 feet to right field.

I parked beyond the left field fence and entered through this gate along with Amy and Olivia.

I immediately noticed how ridiculously deep left field was.  And the fence got deeper in a hurry as I looked out to left center field.  It was definitely way over 400 feet to the left field power alley.

Before hitting, I took a few pictures.  Here we have a view looking towards the first base line from left field.  Notice the stands.  They’re ancient.

And a view from behind the pitcher’s mound, which doesn’t even line up correctly with home plate.

As for home plate?  I guess its somewhere under a bunch of muck.

The dugouts looked especially small:

Some more ancient bleachers:

And a view of left field looking from home plate:

Looking out towards center field:

And a panorama of the field:

And another view with large old light towers keeping guard:

I dumped out 20 baseballs and began to hit.

I tried to put everything I had into each swing to have a chance to maybe hit a home run here.

It obviously didn’t happen.  I hit five of the twenty to the base of the wall.  Once of the balls made it out of West Field… but that’s only because it rolled under the fence.

By the way, I hate the Phillies, but am a big Jim Thome fan.  So, in light of his recent return to the Phillies, I pulled out my old Jim Thome shirt for today.

Anyhow, as for a quick review of this field.  I didn’t like anything about the field itself.  It’s in rather poor shape and the dimensions of the field are awful.  The cool thing about the field is that there are actual bleachers behind the plate and along the right field line and the fact that the Homestead Grays once played here.

There’s some nostalgia here,

but I this would be my last choice to play on if I were taking batting practice or playing a round of home run derby.

Goodbye West Field, I probably won’t be back unless I come to watch a high school baseball game here.

Condition:  D-
Dimensions: F
Location/Surrounding Area:  D (there was broken glass everywhere in the lot)
Parking/Access: B

This is the worst rated field I’ve visited so far.  Look for upcoming entries about South Fayette and South Allegheny.
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
Clairton Resident Park, Clairton PA

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