The Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers Stadium

June 25th, 2010
by Byron Bennett

Three Rivers Stadium, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1970 through 2000, was located in the North Shore section of Pittsburgh.

Three Rivers Stadium Aerial View (Gold Star Photography/Norman W. Schumm)

The multipurpose stadium was nestled along the Allegheny River, adjacent to where that river converges with the Monongahela River to form the Ohio River, hence the stadium’s name.

Pittsburgh's Skyline Across the Allegheny River Looking South Beyond Three Rivers Stadium's Outfield Wall

It is hard to believe that the Pirates would have abandoned historic Forbes Field for the generic and sterile confines of Three Rivers, however, such was progress, 1970’s-style.

Three Rivers Stadium Playing Field

Tarp Covers Three Rivers Stadium's Infield During Rain Delay

The seating capacity and the lack of demand for tickets led Pirate officials to close off portions of the outfield upper deck seating area.

Closed Upper Deck Seating Area Included Tribute to Pittsburgh's Negro League Champions

Still, regardless of its architectural merits, Three Rivers Stadium hosted major league baseball for over 30 seasons and, with its demolition, a considerable amount of baseball history went with it.

Three Rivers Stadium Upper Deck

The site of two World Series, many great Pittsburgh players called Three Rivers Stadium their home.

The Three Rivers Third Base Side and Left Field Corner

Ultimately, progress made a dramatic U-turn and in 2001, the Pirates inaugurated PNC Park, constructed just four blocks east of Three Rivers Stadium.

Looking West From PNC Park toward Former Site of Three Rivers Stadium circa 2003

PNC Park With Heinz Field And Former Site of Three Rivers Stadium In Background

Today, the former site of Three Rivers Stadium is, like many other recently-lost ballparks, a parking lot.

Former Site of Three Rivers Stadium (Shown As A Parking Lot) Adjacent to Heinz Field Circa 2009

Construction of the North Shore Entertainment Complex currently is underway on the former site of Three Rivers Stadium.   The picture below shows the area formerly occupied by the right field corner/seating area of Three River Stadium.

Sign Announcing Construction of North Shore Entertainment Complex at Former Site of Three Rivers Stadium

Eventually, the area will house a two story,  22,000 square foot for both indoor and outdoor concerts.

Former Site of Three River Stadium Center Field

Former Site of Three River Stadium Center Field Looking Southeast

The seating area along left field/third base remains a parking lot, for the moment, at least.  The approximate location of left field sits on West Robinson Street, just east of Interstate 279.

Approximate Location of Three Rivers Stadium Left Field Corner Looking Toward Direction of Home Plate

Approximate Location of Three Rivers Stadium Left Field Corner Looking Toward Home Plate

A two-story, concrete marker for Gate D is the only portion of Three Rivers Stadium still standing.   It is located adjacent to Heinz Field and the statute of Steelers’ founder Arthur Rooney.

Gate D Marker from Three Rivers Stadium

In 2006, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission erected a plaque next to the Gate D marker commemorating Three Rivers Stadium.

Three Rivers Stadium Historical Plaque With Heinz Field in Background

The plaque states:

Three Rivers Stadium

Opened on July 16, 1970.  Home to the Pirates, who won two World Series, and the Steelers, who won four Super Bowl Championships, creating “Pittsburgh’s City of Champions” identity.  It was the site of Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th hit, September 30, 1972 and Franco Harris’s legendary “Immaculate Reception,” December 23, 1972.  A multi-use facility, it also hosted many concerts and special events prior to its demolition on February 11, 2001.

Three Rivers Stadium Pennsylvania State Historical Marker

A stop at Gate D to visit the site of yet another lost ballpark is certainly worth the trip next time you find yourself four blocks east at PNC park in Pittsburgh.

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