Today, July 16, marks the 45th Anniversary of the first ball game played in Three Rivers Stadium. The Pirates lost that game to the Cincinnati Reds. The picture above is a ticket stub from that game. No, it wasn't my stub, it's my Dad's. He was at that game. I was not.
My first visit to Three Rivers came three days later, on Sunday, July 19, which happened to be the first DAY game played at Three Rivers. That day, my Dad and I were among 32,294 in attendance to see the Pirates defeat the Reds 7-3. In that game, Dave Cash hit a home run, Manny Sanguillen had a triple, Roberto Clemente went 0-for-2 with three walks, and Willie Stargell went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Luke Walker pitched eight innings to get the win and boost his record to 7-3. Joe Gibbon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning and was, according to the box score on Retrosheet, credited with a save. The Save Rule must have been different then. Under today's rules, Gibbon, who entered the game with a four run lead, would not be credited with a Save. Oh, well.
That was the first of many, many visits that Stadium for me over the course of the next 31 years, and with that in mind, I reprint for you know (whether you want to see it or not), a list that I complied back in 2001, shortly before the implosion of Three Rivers Stadium. These are events for which I was actually in attendance.
Top Ten Three Rivers Stadium Memories
- 1972 – Franco Harris and the Immaculate Reception beats the Oakland Raiders in the Steelers first ever playoff game. How could anything else be Number One?
- 1979 – Pirates defeat Cincinnati Reds in Game Three to sweep the National League Championship Series and win Pennant.
- 1971 – Attended Game 3 of World Series, my first World Series game. Pirates win and go onto win World Series.
- 1975 – Steelers defeat Oakland on an icy field in AFC Championship game.
- 1978 and 1979 – Steelers defeat Houston Oilers two years in a row in AFC Championship game.
- Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente – just watching these two Hall of Famers over the years.
- 1979 – Attend Game Three of World Series. It’s a night game, it’s cold, there are snow flurries, and Pirates lose. They win the World Series anyway.
- 1994 – Steelers lose AFC Championship to Chargers when last minute fourth down pass at goal line falls incomplete. I’ve never heard 60,000 people get so quiet.
- 1995 – Steelers beat Indianapolis in AFC Championship game to go to Super Bowl.
- 2000 – I catch foul ball hit by Jason Kendall, my first such souvenir in over 40 years of attending ball games.
- 1985 – Bruce Springsteen “Born in the USA” concert. Over 65,000 people, largest crowd ever at Three Rivers for any event. Still the single best concert I’ve ever seen.
- 1970 – Three Rivers Stadium opens. It is old and outdated now, but it sure was dazzling when it first opened.
OK, I know that’s twelve. So sue me!