Chronological Tour: Stop 8

Three Rivers Stadium

Three Rivers Stadium, from the south shore of the Allegheny, Aug-1996.

A look at the confluence of the Three Rivers, from a balcony of the stadium, Aug-1992.

Inside, it was mostly just another artificial-turf cookie-cutter ballpark.

Quick Facts: Rating: 1 baseball
They picked a great spot for a new baseball and football stadium in Pittsburgh, right on the banks of the Allegheny River as it flows into the Monongahela to become the Ohio.

While the concept was there, the execution was lacking. Three Rivers Stadium was another one of those cookie-cutter parks that became popular in the early 1970s, along with Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia and Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, with huge seating bowls and artificial turf that made them easy to convert from baseball to football and vice versa. The convenience was wonderful for stadium operators, and football fans never had a problem enjoying their sport in these monstrosities, but they took away from the enjoyment of baseball.

By the late 1990s, plans were afoot to build new baseball parks in all three cities. Pittsburgh closed Three Rivers after the 2000 season for both the Pirates and the football Steelers, and new parks for each sport rose next door. The new, reduced-capacity baseball stadium is named PNC Park, after a major bank.

Three Rivers was imploded 11-Feb-2001, leaving primarily memories behind. Perhaps the greatest of those occurred months apart in 1972: Roberto Clemente’s 3000th (and last) base hit, and Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” during the NFL playoffs.

One thing I enjoyed on a 1996 visit to Three Rivers was the organist. An opposing pitcher received a visit from his coach and several of his infielders, and the organist played a few bars of the Thanksgiving hymn “We Gather Together”. Whether anyone else in the sparse crowd noticed, I’m not sure.

Game # Date League Level Result
31 Sun 12-Aug-1990 National MLB St Louis 6, PITTSBURGH 0
69 Thu 20-Aug-1992 National MLB PITTSBURGH 7, San Diego 1
109 Sat 11-Sep-1993 National MLB Colorado 3, PITTSBURGH 2
213 Sat 10-Aug-1996 National MLB San Diego 6, PITTSBURGH 2
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This page updated 10-Aug-2009