I thought it was time for a Memories of Three Rivers page. If you have a favorite memory from the ballpark, then drop me a line.
I was an honorary bat boy for the bucs on August 9, 1971, and a couple other nights, but the first one, I remember very very well. I met Roberto Clemente that night, it was very cold. Clemente approached my father and I as we walked up the ramp to the dug out. "Would you like to wear my jacket?" he asked....I was too afraid to say yes, but I now wish like hell I had. I was fortunate enough to also take my brothers with me just prior to the game start-up. We all got to see and talk to Roberto for a little while. The Phillies beat us that night 1-0 with Steve Carlton hitting the game winning homer, against Steve Blass.
Here are a couple random rememberances from that night:
The major leaguers eat a LOT of sun flower seeds in the dug out. The pirates provided them by the barrel-ful (at least they did in 1971). I had a good chat with Wayne Twitchell (Phils pitcher then), and talked a little to Steve Carlton in between innings. I remember Ramon Hernandez smoking a Salem cigarette, which I was shocked to see. I didn't think any pro player would ever smoke, but he wasn't the only one I saw smoking, just the first.... these are the memories of a 12-year old kid.
I was also fortunate enough to have seen Bob Gibson throw a no-hitter against the Pirates in 1971. That was my first major league game, and also my first visit to TRS. If I could re-live, or watch a game again, it would be that one. Willie Stargell was the last batter Bob Gibson faced. He swung and missed at strike three, turned around and looked at us (the crowd) and shrugged his shoulders as if to say "No one can hit this guy tonight."
I have a couple all time Pirate moments, during which I was lucky enough to be at Three Rivers ...
1) August 6, 1989: The Longest Game in Pirates history (5 hours, 42 minutes; 18 innings, plus a rain delay). Jeff King homered off Sanderson of the Cubs for the win. The rainstorm was torrential, waterfalls in the field boxes and onto the field. My son, 10 at the time, wanted to leave in extra innings, but I told him he had to stay because he had already invested too much time to give up and leave before the game was over. Then it rained. For a long, long, time. Then it took what seemed like forever to dry the field with that vacuuming, zamboni-like truck they have. He was happy he had stayed when King homered. There weren't many of us left by then, and we had moved up to sit at the railing, beside the Buc dugout and had a great view of the ball disappearing into the left field seats.
2) Perhaps you remember several years ago, when we still had the
Killer Bees, that This Week in Baseball had as one of the scenes
in their ending clips a segment where Bonds hit a long one,
raised his arms and watched it go out. Well, my son and I immediately recognized this as a
homer off Lee Smith of the Cardinals, that won another extra inning game,
August 12, 1991. The Cardinals had scored in the top of the eleventh,
making the score 3-2. With one out, Bonilla singled to right, and then
Bonds, on an 0-2 pitch (he had swung and missed two fastballs) homered to
right. In the paper next day, he said the pitch he hit was a slider, and he
was glad to see it, because he couldn't catch up to the previous
pitches (we had seen that from the stands along the first base line, I even
mentioned it to my son before he hit the third pitch)! Bonds had already
hit another two run homer in the seventh. Other than Maz's 1960,
Starg's 1979, and King's homer described above, it was the most exciting
homer I remember.
Beat 'em Bucs
P.S. I like the train motif on the scoreboard, with the guy whistling out of the smoke stack. Crazy, eh?
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