On June 30, 1970, the Cincinnati Reds christened their brand new home, Riverfront Stadium, with an 8-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The defeat was just a minor and temporary stumbling block, though, for the team that was the genesis of The Big Red Machine that dominated the National League throughout the 1970s. In 1970, catcher Johnny Bench won the first of his two league MVP awards, and the Reds won the NL pennant before dropping the World Series to the Baltimore Orioles.
Riverfront Stadium was the site of countless big baseball moments, including the Pete Rose-Ray Fosse collision later that summer, multiple World Series games, Rose’s record-breaking hit in 1985, and, on a personal note, my first in-person Reds game in the summer of 1984. Great American Ballpark is a fine example of the new breed of dedicated baseball venues, but it has a long way to go in terms of matching the memories built in the old cookie cutter.
Happy birthday, Riverfront Stadium!