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"The reason I don't like playing in the World Series is I can't watch myself play."
--Reggie Jackson, frequent participant in the Fall Classic


Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium

By Wikipedia

Three Rivers Stadium (sometimes referred to simply as 3RS) was a multipurpose sports stadium and event facility located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

At a glance...
Three Rivers Stadium
Facility statistics
Location 600 Stadium Circle
Pittsburgh, PA
Opened July 16, 1970
Closed October 1, 2000
Demolished February 11, 2001
Replaced Forbes Field
Replaced by PNC Park (Pirates, 2001)
Heinz Field (Steelers, 2001)
Owner City of Pittsburgh
Surface Tartantuff (1970-82)
Architect Deeter Ritchy Sipple,
Michael Baker, Jr. &
Osborn Engineering
Pirates (MLB, 1970-2000)
Steelers (NFL, 1970-2000)
Maulers (USFL, 1984)
Seating capacity
45,000 (baseball)
59,000 (football)
Left Field - 340 ft
Left-Center - 385 ft
Center Field - 410 ft
Right-Center - 385 ft
Right Field - 345

Left Field - 335 ft
Left-Center - 375 ft
Center Field - 400 ft
Right-Center - 375 ft
Right Field - 335 ft
Backstop - 60 ft
foul territory: large

The stadium's name was derived from the junction of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, where they formed the Ohio River, the "Golden Triangle". The stadium was located on the north side of the confluence.

Three Rivers played home to Pittsburgh's Pirates, Steelers and the USFL Pittsburgh Maulers, as well as to concerts, monster truck rallies, professional wrestling shows and other types of events. In all, Three Rivers Stadium hosted over 5,000 events in its 30 years of existence, but it was seen as an outdated facility in the "luxury box" and "signature stadium" era of the 21st century.

The stadium's design was nearly circular, attempting to facilitate use by the Pirates and Steelers with equal accommodation. Unfortunately, as was the case with other cities in which this so-called "cookie cutter" approach was employed (see especially Busch in St. Louis, Riverfront in Cincinnati, and Veteran's in Philadelphia), the fundamentally different shapes of the playing fields made the stadium inadequate to the needs of either sport.

Even by "cookie cutter" standards, the upper deck at 3RS was exceptionally high, making for steep climbs by event attendees and adding to its cavernous feel. By the 1990s, the use of multiple low-bid contractors in its construction began to show, as parts of the concrete began to turn differing shades of brown.

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The stadium did have its moments of glory and drama, mostly in its first decade of existence. The Pirates won the 1971 and 1979 World Series while playing here, upsetting the favored Baltimore Orioles in both series.

The 1971 World Series featured the first night game in World Series history (Game 4). Roberto Clemente ended his career while playing here, garnering 3,000 hits, before his death in a plane crash while bringing earthquake relief supplies.

Slugger Willie Stargell established himself as a fan favorite. The Pirates also made the playoffs during 1990-1991-1992, only to be thwarted by the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves, and since then by the competitive disproportions of the big-contract era in baseball.



The implosion of Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 11, 2001, as seen from the Goodyear blimp.

Photo by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

07/16/1970 Reds 3, Pirates 2
Umpires Doug Harvey, Frank Dezelan
  Shag Crawford, Stan Landes
Managers Danny Murtaugh, Pirates
  Sparky Anderson, Reds
Starting Pitchers Dock Ellis, Pirates
  Gary Nolan, Reds
Ceremonial Pitch Hall of Famer Pie Traynor
Attendance 48,846
Batter Ty Cline (ground out)
Hit Richie Hebner (single)
Run Richie Hebner
RBI Al Oliver
Single Richie Hebner
Double Al Oliver
Triple Roberto Clemente (07/17/1970)
Home Run Tony Perez
Grand Slam John Bateman (06/18/1971)
IPHR Richie Hebner (09/03/1973)
Stolen Base Lee May
Sacrifice Hit Ty Cline
Sacrifice Fly Johnny Bench (07/17/1970)
Cycle Joe Torre (06/27/1973)
Win Clay Carroll
Loss Dock Ellis
Shutout Dock Ellis (07/24/1970)
Save Wayne Granger (07/18/1970)
Hit by Pitch Joe Gibbon hit
Tony Gonzalez (07/22/1970)
Wild Pitch Gary Nolan
Balk Bob O'Brien (04/28/1971)
No-Hitter Bob Gibson (08/14/1971)
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet

The Steelers fielded what was arguably the greatest NFL team of all time, culminating in four championship trophies for the 1970's with wins in Super Bowl IX, Super Bowl X, Super Bowl XIII and Super Bowl XIV. The Steelers, coached by Chuck Noll, featured quarterback Terry Bradshaw, running back Franco Harris, receiver Lynn Swann, and defender "Mean" Joe Greene, who anchored the "Steel Curtain."

The so-called "Immaculate Reception" play occurred here, in a 1972 AFC playoff game against the Oakland Raiders. In the 1990's the Steelers, coached by Bill Cowher, again made the Super Bowl (Super Bowl XXX), only to lose to the Dallas Cowboys. One of the biggest upsets in NFL history occurred on January 15, 1995, when the San Diego Chargers scored a last-second goal line stand and upset the Steelers in the AFC championship game, 17-13, negating a stellar performance by quarterback Neil O'Donnell.

Three Rivers Stadium was imploded on February 11, 2001. The Pirates moved into a baseball-specific facility, PNC Park, situated farther east on the north bank of the Allegheny River. The Steelers later that year moved into Heinz Field, a facility built less than 50 feet (15 m) from where Three Rivers stood.

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Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.

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Three Rivers Stadium from Space!

USGS Photo

Year by Year statistics: for Three Rivers Stadium

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It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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