PITTSBURGH, PA – Twenty years in the past this week on a chilly Sunday morning, three many years of Pittsburgh sports activities historical past collapsed in seconds in clouds of smoke and tons of fractured concrete.
The date was Feb. 11, 2001. Three Rivers Stadium, dwelling to the Pirates and Steelers since 1970 and the occasional dwelling to the College of Pittsburgh Panthers, was imploded in spectacular trend to usher in new eras for each groups.
The Pirates would start play two months later a brief distance away on the North Shore at PNC Park; The Steelers and Pitt would debut Heinz Discipline, actually ft from Three Rivers, that fall.
Three River Stadium was certainly one of many multi-use “cookie-cutter” stadiums that had been generically designed for use for each baseball and soccer video games. In that regard, Three Rivers was practically an identical to Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati and Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
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The $55 million stadium debuted on July 17, 1970, with the Pirates shedding the opening recreation to the Cincinnati Reds on an evening when the sport wasn’t as vital because the venue during which it was being performed.
Changing antiquated Forbes Discipline for the Bucs and Pitt Stadium because the Steelers’ dwelling, Three Rivers featured 5 ranges of multicolored seats, the 300-seat Allegheny Membership restaurant and a Tartan Turf taking part in floor that wasn’t near resembling the colour of actual grass.
To transform the stadium from baseball to soccer, two 4,000-seat areas of ground-level seats had been moved from the primary and third-base traces to turn out to be premium seats across the 50-yard line.
The approaching anniversary of the stadium’s demise little doubt will conjure fond recollections from older followers within the metropolis. Three Rivers was not a beautiful place. Nevertheless it offered a house within the Seventies for 4 Tremendous Bowl profitable Steelers groups, two Pirates World Championship groups and different memorable sporting and live performance occasions.
- Sport 4 of the 1971 World Sequence, the primary evening recreation in World Sequence historical past. The Pirates delivered a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on the way in which to their first championship since 1960.
- The Immaculate Reception in 1972, which gave the Steelers a playoff victory in opposition to the Oakland Raiders and was chosen as the best play in NFL historical past within the NFL Community’s 100 sequence.
- Roberto Clemente’s 3,00oth – and final- hit in 1972, simply three months earlier than he tragically died in a airplane crash.
- The 1976 Pitt-Penn State recreation, a 24-7 Panthers victory that concluded an ideal common season and propelled the crew to its first nationwide championship in 39 years.
- The unforgettable 1979 “We Are Household” Pirates season that might conclude with the crew’s first World Sequence championship since 1971.
- Bruce Springsteen and the E Avenue Band taking part in earlier than practically 66,000 followers in 1985.
- The Penguins celebrating their second Stanley Cup win on the stadium in 1992.
- The 1995 AFC Championship recreation between the Steelers and Baltimore Colts, a 20-16 Steelers victory that wasn’t determined till the Colts’ last-second Hail Mary cross failed.
Although it wasn’t fairly 30 years previous when it was demolished, Three Rivers had turn out to be functionally out of date within the Nineteen Nineties as sports activities groups across the nation demanded – and usually obtained from the cities the place they performed – new stadiums with luxurious bins and different revenue-generating facilities.
The Pirates and Steelers had been no exceptions. Cash for PNC Park and Heinz Discipline was cobbled collectively from Allegheny Regional Asset District funds, state and federal cash and different sources, together with the groups. Floor was damaged for the brand new stadiums in 1999.
The Pirates performed their remaining recreation at Three Rivers on Oct. 1, 2000, a 10-9 loss to the Chicago Cubs. The Steelers final hurrah on the stadium was a 24-3 win in opposition to the Washington Soccer Crew (then referred to as the Redskins) on Dec. 16, 2000.
Demolition staff started dismantling parts of the stadium’s inside shortly after that recreation in preparation for the massive bang that might happen on Feb. 11.
On that chilly and clear morning, an estimated 20,000 folks gathered in Level State Park, on Mt. Washington and the roof of the D.L. Clark Constructing on the North Shore to observe the implosion.
A demolition firm had spent the earlier week loading the stadium with 4,800 kilos of dynamite. A 16-year-old boy who had received a contest to push the plunger to begin the demolition did simply that and 19 seconds later Three Rivers was gone.
The Three Rivers Gate D pylon exterior of Heinz Discipline (Google Maps).
The Three Rivers Gate D pylon was moved to just outside Heinz Field as a tribute; it’s near a historical marker noting many of the athletic accomplishments that occurred in the stadium. On West General Robinson Street, which was constructed after the stadium rubble was cleared, there’s a monument marking the spot where Franco Harris caught The Immaculate Reception in 1972, a play that has been voted the greatest in NFL History.
But Three Rivers footprint contains office buildings, restaurants, roads and parking garages.
For all of the excitement and entertainment it brought people for three decades, today it’s almost as if Three Rivers never existed.