Three Rivers Stadium

Three Rivers Stadium was named for it's location. It stood at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, where they formed the Ohio River, the "Golden Triangle".

On July 16, 1970, the Pittsburgh Pirates, sporting shocking, mod, new, "double knit" uniforms, ran onto the Tartan Turf of their fabulous baseball stadium for the very first time. 48,846 fans cheered them on. The largest crowd in Pittsburgh Baseball history. And these were baseball fans. In the absence of completed access roads they reached the park using everything from bicycles to boats.

The original cost of construction was, for it's time, was a whopping $55 million. As was the trend of the day, this "multi-purpose" stadium would be the home of both the Pirates and the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers. The seating capacity was 47,971 for baseball games and 59,000 for football.

Three Rivers Stadium replaced the Pirates old ball park, Forbes Field. The Bucs dropped the opener to the Cincinnati Reds by the same 3-2 score that they has lost by to the Chicago Cubs in the Forbes Field opener 61 years before.

Three Rivers Stadium hosted over 5,000 events in its 30 years. Besides Pittsburgh Pirate and Steeler games, there were Billy Graham crusades, monster truck shows, rock concerts, soccer and many other events.

Three Rivers Stadium was basically circular in design. It's symetrical dimensions led it to be called a "cookie cutter" stadium because it resembled the other multi-purpose parks of the time. Philadelphia, St. Louis, Cincinnati and San Diego all got new, all-purpose, "cookie cutter" stadiums.

The "Allegheny Club" was a restaurant that seated 300 people and gave them a view of the game while they dined.

Outside the ball park stood the mighty statues of Roberto Clemente and Honus Wagner. These would later be moved to the Pirates new baseball stadium.

Three Rivers Stadium was cavernous. The fans in the upper decks were so far from the action on the baseball field that it was difficult to see. Also, the park had been contracted to the lowest bidders and by the 1990s, was showing signs of that. The concrete was beginning to turn brown.

In it's first full season, Three Rivers Stadium hosted the 1971 World Series. The Pittsburgh Pirates were matched against the Baltimore Orioles who had a pitching staff that included four 20 game winners.

The Orioles were heavy favorites and won the first two games in Baltimore. Just when the media counted the Bucs out, they returned to Three Rivers and took the next three games. Three Rivers hosted game four which was the first night game in World Series history.

It was back to Baltimore and another win for the Orioles in game 6. But thanks to an MVP performance and home run by Roberto Clemente and the second win for pitcher Steve Blass, the Pirates won game 7 and the series. It was the Pirates first World Championship since 1960.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were back in the World Series in 1979. Again it was against the Orioles and again the Bucs prevailed in seven games. Thanks to Willie Stargell's MVP performance.

Three Rivers Stadium never saw another World Series. They came close in the early 1990s but didn't quite make it.

It was becoming evident that the 30 year old baseball stadium had outlived it's usefullness. Plans were in place to build a brand new baseball stadium and football stadium. The days of the multi-purpose stadium were over.

On October 1, 2000, the Pittsburgh Pirates played their last game at Three Rivers Stadium. Pittsburgh's old friend was demolished on February 11, 2001. The Bucs moved into brand new PNC Park in March of 2001.

Just for a comparison, the original cost of construction for Three Rivers Stadium in 1970 was $55 Million. The cost for PNC Park in 2000 was a stagering $216 Million.

Memorable Moments:

Two World Series. 1971 and 1979, The Bucs won them both.

Major League All Star Game in 1974 and 1994.

On September 30, 1972, Roberto Clemente collected his 3,000th base hit off the New York Mets' Jon Matlack. It was a double and Roberto's last career hit.

The only no hitter pitched here was by John Candelaria on August 9, 1976.

Three Rivers Stadium Dimensions:

The dimensions were symmetrical. Both foul lines ran 340 feet to the wall. This was reduced to 335 in 1975. The left-center and right-center alleys were at 385 feet when the park opened and were reduced to 375 in 1975. Center field was originally 410 feet and again, was reduced to 400 feet in 1975. The backstop was 60 feet behind home plate. The outfield wall was ten feet high all the way around.