Above is a postcard from the early years of Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, fabled home of the Pirates for more than 60 years. Many great ballplayers called that field home -- including Honus Wagner, Ralph Kiner and Roberto Clemente -- but 89 years ago Friday, a different kind of baseball history was made there when the Bucs and Cincinnati Reds played the last tripleheader in major-league history. (Such an event is now prohibited under the current players-owners bargaining agreement; heck, these days you rarely see doubleheaders.)
The Reds won the first two games 13-4 and 7-3 before Pittsburgh won 6-0 in a game halted by darkness. The three games consumed exactly five hours of playing time; the first game was played in 2:03, the second in 1:56 and the shortened nightcap in 1:01. (Of course, back then you had few calls to the bullpen and no mascot races between innings.)
Come Tuesday, the 101st anniversary of Carole Lombard's birth, she'll have her own tripleheader on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. To some, that may not seem like much, but TCM pulled out all the stops a year ago for her centennial -- remember, she was their star of the month.
What's the triple bill, you ask? Here's the answer (all times Eastern):
* 9:15 a.m. -- "Brief Moment" (1933). Carole plays a nightclub singer who marries a wealthy playboy (Gene Raymond), then tries to reform him. A capable adaptation of a Broadway play, another example that Columbia knew how to create a vehicle for Lombard better than her home studio Paramount did.
* 10:30 a.m. -- "Lady By Choice" (1934). An adequate comedy, with Lombard portraying a fan dancer who adopts a struggling elderly woman (May Robson) for publicity. Roger Pryor is her love interest; Walter Connolly's in this too, as a judge.
* noon -- "In Name Only" (1939). Yes, many of us regret that Carole and Cary Grant, the actress and actor most identified with the screwball comedy genre, never made such a film together...but at least we do have this fine romantic drama, with the able Kay Francis rounding out this love triangle.
Three films -- amounting to a total of four hours and 45 minutes, slightly shorter than that aforementioned baseball tripleheader -- may not satisfy some, but imagine if you're a fan of Janet Gaynor (who was a friend of Carole's). She's also an Oct. 6 baby, and she's getting only two films from TCM, at an earlier time ("The Young In Heart" at 6:15 a.m., followed by "Three Loves Has Nancy" at 8).
Incidentally, the Pirates and Reds, mired at the bottom of the National League Central, close out the season today in Cincinnati, probably thankful they're playing only one game.