FIVE GREAT MOMENTS AT THREE RIVERS STADIUM
1. Clemente gets his 3,000th hit (Sept. 30, 1972)
The end of the Pirates' 1972 regular season didn't have much suspense in
terms of postseason implications -- Pittsburgh had already clinched the
NL East. However, the 13,119 fans at Three Rivers Stadium for this
Saturday afternoon game against the New York Mets were hoping to see
Pirates star Roberto Clemente become the 11th member of the 3,000-hit
Clemente almost got hit No. 3,000 in the first inning on Sept. 29.
He reached safely on a high bouncer that was bobbled by Mets second
baseman Ken Boswell. Clemente thought it was a hit but the official
scorer, Luke Quay, charged Boswell with an error. Clemente would later
say scorers around the league had robbed him of two batting titles
during his career.
In the season's last game, Clemente delivered. In the fourth inning,
Clemente doubled off New York lefthander Jon Matlack into the
left-center field gap. After the game, Clemente said, "I dedicated the
hit to the Pittsburgh fans and to the people in Puerto Rico."
This great moment became bittersweet just three months later when
was killed in a plane crash delivering earthquake relief to Nicaragua.
2. Mike Schmidt hits his 500th home run (April 18, 1987)
Although Schmidt's 500th career homer may not have brought great
joy to Pittsburgh fans, it was still one of the most significant
events at Three Rivers Stadium.
The Phillies had a comfortable 5-0 lead over the Pirates, but Pittsburgh
rallied for six runs in the bottom of the eighth, the last three on a
home run by Johnny Ray, to take a 6-5 lead.
In the ninth, Juan Samuel kept the game alive for the Phillies with a
hard slide into second base to break up a potential a game-ending
double play. After a walk to Von Hayes, the Phils had two on and two
out, and Schmidt came to the plate looking for his 500th homer and a
chance to win the game.
Pirates reliever Don Robinson fell behind 3-0. Schmidt pounded the next
pitch over the wall in left for No. 500 and an 8-6 Phillies victory.
After the game, Schmidt told reporters the homer was "the greatest
thrill of my lifetime."
3. Game 4 of the 1971 World Series (Oct. 13, 1971)
The first night game in World Series history was a thrilling one for
Pittsburgh fans. The Pirates, playing in their first Fall Classic since
1960, lost the first two games of the Series at Baltimore but won Game
3, 5-1, on a three-hitter by Steve Blass.
In Game 4, Pirates starter Luke Walker gave up three runs, thanks
in part to a pair of infield singles and a passed ball, and was pulled
after just two-thirds of an inning. Pittsburgh came back in its half
of the first with RBI doubles by Willie Stargell and Al Oliver to make
the score 3-2. Oliver tied the game with an RBI single in the third.
The Pirates then took the lead, 4-3, in the seventh on an RBI single
Milt May. Pirates relievers Bruce Kison and Dave Giusti pitched 8 2/3
scoreless innings and allowed just one hit –- a double in the second --
to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 win and even the series at 2.
Pittsburgh won Game 5 at Three Rivers 5-0 before heading back to
Baltimore. After losing Game 6, 3-2, the Pirates won the world
championship with a 2-1 victory in Game 7.
4. Smith's homer saves no-hitter (July 12, 1997)
In 1997, the Pirates weren't expected to be close to .500, much
less first place, but before their game against the Astros on July 12,
Pittsburgh was just one game back of Houston in the NL Central
For the first time in the history of Three Rivers, the stadium was sold
out for a game that wasn't the home opener, and the Pirates didn't
disappoint their fans.
Pittsburgh starter Francisco Cordova pitched nine no-hit innings, but
when Cordova got the third out in the ninth, there was no wild
celebration. Instead, the Astros took the field for the bottom half of
the inning because the Pirates had also failed to score. Cordova threw
121 pitches, and Pittsburgh manager Gene Lamont had no choice but to
pull Cordova despite his great performance. Pirates reliever Ricardo
Rincon pitched a perfect 10th to keep the no-hitter alive.
In the bottom of the 10th, the Pirates had two on and two out when
Lamont summoned Mark Smith to pinch hit. Smith hit a pitch off Astros
reliever John Hudek into the third level of seats in left field for a
3-0 Pittsburgh win and the first combined extra-inning no-hitter in
major league history.
5. Milner's grand slam beats Phillies (Aug. 5, 1979)
The Pirates were in a tight race for the NL East pennant with the
Montreal Expos and were wrapping up a five-game series with the
were very much in the race and had won the division the past three
years. Pittsburgh won the first three games and the series was finishing
up with a Sunday doubleheader.
In the first game, Philadelphia's Greg Luzinksi hit a grand slam to help
put Philadelphia on top 8-3. The Bucs then rallied against Steve
Carlton and tied the game 8-8. In the bottom of the ninth, the Pirates
had the bases loaded and one out. Steve Nicosia, who was 4-for-4 in the
game, was the scheduled batter, but Pittsburgh manager Chuck Tanner
decided to pinch-hit with John Milner. The Phillies brought in reliever
Tug McGraw, and Milner belted McGraw’s first pitch for a game-winning
slam. The Pirates won the second game, 5-2, to complete a five-game
sweep, but many credit Milner's slam as the hit that led the Pirates to
the division title.
Other closing stadium: County Stadium