On June 5, 1959, Dick “Dr. Strangeglove” Stuart hits the longest home run in the history of Forbes Field. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ slugger hits a 457-foot blast over the center field wall, becoming the first player to clear the barrier in the ballpark’s 50-year existence. Stuart blast came in the first inning against Chicago Cubs pitcher Glenn Hobbie in a 10-5 loss to Chicago.
In the words of Les Biederman, “the first player in the 50-year history of Forbes Field to ride a ball over the centerfield fence, a few feet to the left of the flagpole.” While Stuart is perhaps the first major leaguer to literally clear the wall, mention must be made of both Negro League great Josh Gibson, who did it twice, in 1930 and 1946, and Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, who actually hit the flagpole on April 24, 1924. Biederman continues: “Stuart faced Glen Hobbie with Smoky Burgess aboard and rifled a shot straight over George Altman’s head. Altman raced back and watched the flight of the ball. It disappeared over the 457-foot mark on the centerfield fence, longest part of Forbes Field. Nobody could quite accurately estimate how far the ball traveled and by how far it cleared the wall. Altman guessed 25 to 30 feet but Walt Moryn, who had a side view of the ball from left field, went on record that the ball cleared the wall by about 40 to 50 feet.”