Apr. 14, 1960: It was the 51st National League Opener. A warm day: 83 degrees in the sun. And 32,000 Pirates fans yelling at the big Oakland Park. Mayor Barr tossed the first ball to Smoky Burgess, catcher for the Pirates.
“Special righthander makes season’s first pitch” read the cutline under this photograph that ran in The Pittsburgh Press on the day of the season opener at Forbes Field. The Pirates were playing against the Reds. Bill Mazerowski blasted a two-run homer and the Bucs won, 13-0. Those were the glory days.
This photograph captured our eyes for several reasons, one of which, of course, is that both — Mayor Barr and Gov. David Lawrence — appear side-by-side in this image. Mayor Barr is posing for the shot, while Governor Lawrence looks up, squinting his eyes at the bright sun.
This shot was taken four months after Joseph Barr had assumed the position of Pittsburgh mayor after David Lawrence won the election for the governor.
Mr. Barr played a crucial role in accomplishing projects that his predecessor David Lawrence started. Barr oversaw the construction of the Civic Arena and the Three Rivers Stadium, worked on renovating infrastructure, water systems, street lights modernization. He promoted an image of Pittsburgh as a commercial center and led multiple progressive reforms, including ‘The Pittsburgh Package,’ the legislation that catalyzed city’s Great Renaissance.
Joseph Barr died in 1982.