Cinergy Field

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Riverfront Stadium/ Cinergy Field
Architect Heery & Heery and FABRAP
Location Cincinnati, Ohio
First baseball game June 30, 1970
Last baseball game September 22, 2002
First football game September 20, 1970
Last football game December 12, 1999
Demolished December 29, 2002
1970 to 2000
1970 to 1999
Baseball only
2001 to 2002
Baseball dimensions 1970 to 2000
Left 330 ft 100.6 m
Left-center 375 ft 114.3 m
Center 404 ft 123.1 m
Right-center 375 ft 114.3 m
Right 330 ft 100.6 m
Backstop 51 ft 15.5 m
Baseball dimensions 2001 to 2002
Left 325 ft 99.1 m
Left-center 370 ft 112.8 m
Center 393 ft 119.8 m
Right-center 373 ft 113.7 m
Right 325 ft 99.1 m
Backstop 41 ft 12.5 m

Cinergy Field formerly known as Riverfront Stadium (1970 - 2002) was the home of the Cincinnati Reds Major League Baseball team and the Cincinnati Bengals National Football League team. Located on the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, the stadium was best known as the home of "The Big Red Machine," as the Reds were often called in the 1970s. Construction began on February 1, 1968 and was completed at a cost of less than $50 million. On July 14, Riverfront hosted the 1970 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

In 1996, the stadium was renamed "Cinergy Field" in a sponsorship deal with greater Cincinnati's power company, Cinergy Corporation. It was demolished by implosion in December 2002.


"Cookie Cutters"

Riverfront was one of a number of multi-purpose, circular stadiums built in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s as communities sought to save money by having their football and baseball teams share the same facility. Riverfront, Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, and Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia all opened within a few years and were largely indistinguishable from one another.

The site on which the stadium sat originally contained the birthplace and boyhood home of cowboy singer and actor Roy Rogers.

Big Red Machine

Riverfront Stadium quickly earned a place among its peers and in Cincinnati's century-long baseball tradition as the home of one of the best teams in baseball history. The World Series had visited the Reds' previous home, Crosley Field, just once in its final thirty years, but it came to Riverfront in its first year (1970) and a total of four times in the stadium's first seven years, with the Reds winning back-to-back championships in 1975 and 1976.

Baseball purists disliked Riverfront's artificial turf, but Reds' Manager Sparky Anderson took advantage of it by encouraging speed and line drive hitting that could produce doubles, triples and high-bouncing infield hits. Players who combined power and speed like Joe Morgan, Pete Rose and Ken Griffey, Sr. thrived there. On defense, the fast surface and virtually dirtless infield (see photo) rewarded range and quickness by both outfielders and infielders, like shortstop Dave Concepcion who used the turf to bounce many of his long throws to first. Catcher Johnny Bench and outfielder Tony Perez also played here. The artificial turf covered not only the normal grass area of the ballpark but also what is usually the "skinned" portion of the infield. Only the pitcher's mound, the home plate area, and cutouts around first, second and third bases had dirt surfaces.

Riverfront hosted the MLB All-Star Game in 1970 (then-President Richard Nixon was in attendance) and 1988. It was also the site of the first two games of the 1990 World Series, both won by the Reds on the way to a four-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics.

Professional football

Despite Cincinnati's love of baseball, however, it was the prospect of a professional football team that finally moved the city to end twenty years of discussion and build a new stadium on the downtown riverfront. After playing for two seasons on the University of Cincinnati campus, the Bengals built on the Reds' success in the stadium's first year when they recorded their first winning season and first playoff appearance in 1970, just their third year of existence.

The most memorable football game at Riverfront was probably the American Football Conference Championship on January 10, 1982. The game became known as the "Freezer Bowl" and was won by the Bengals over the San Diego Chargers, 27-7. The air temperature during the game was -9 °F (-23 °C);, but the wind chill was -59 °F (-51 °C), the coldest in NFL history. The win earned the Bengals their first of two trips to the Super Bowl while playing at Riverfront.


When the Bengals moved to Paul Brown Stadium in 2000, the Reds were left as Riverfront's only tenant. Prior to the 2001 baseball season, the stadium was remodeled into a baseball-only configuration. A large slice of the left and centerfield stands was removed, and the distance to the fences was shortened by five feet to allow room for the construction of Great American Ball Park, while the artificial surface was replaced with grass. Thus, during its last couple of seasons, the stadium achieved an openness and a degree of aesthetic appeal that it had lacked for most of its existence.






  • Dittmar, Joseph J. (1997). Baseball Records Registry: The Best and Worst Single-Day Performances and the Stories Behind Them. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0786402938
  • Munsey & Suppes (1996-2004). Riverfront Stadium. Ballparks.
  • Smith, Ron (2000). Riverfront Stadium. The Ballpark Book. The Sporting News. ISBN 0892047038
  • Riverfront Stadium Opens.

External links

See also