Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Reds News arrow-downArrow Down icon Arrow Up icon

What remains of the Reds' Riverfront Stadium

@m_sheldon
January 8, 2021

CINCINNATI -- On Dec. 29, 2002, following a spectacular implosion witnessed by thousands, the former home of the Reds -- Riverfront Stadium -- was no more. A few months later, baseball’s first professional franchise moved into its current home, Great American Ball Park. Built in 1970, Riverfront Stadium (later renamed

CINCINNATI -- On Dec. 29, 2002, following a spectacular implosion witnessed by thousands, the former home of the Reds -- Riverfront Stadium -- was no more. A few months later, baseball’s first professional franchise moved into its current home, Great American Ball Park.

Built in 1970, Riverfront Stadium (later renamed Cinergy Field) was considered state-of-the-art for its time. The round “cookie-cutter” facility was multi-purpose and housed both the Reds and the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.

Riverfront Stadium hosted five National League pennant winners and three World Series championship clubs. It was the site of Tom Browning’s perfect game in 1988, where Pete Rose became the all-time hits leader in 1985 and where Hall of Fame Reds players like Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan and Barry Larkin played. All-Star Games were hosted there in 1970 and 1988.

What occupies the space where Riverfront once stood? A lot of things.

The former stadium site now houses The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Reds Hall of Fame, apartments, restaurants, a parking garage and a hotel. Even part of GABP sits on the club’s former home. Part of the stadium was torn down to make room for the new stadium.

“Riverfront Stadium is just to the west of where Great American Ball Park is now,” said Rick Walls, executive director of the Reds Hall of Fame. “There are parts of it that intersect just in the fan zone. That would be the left field area [in the old stadium]. The outfield wall would have run right through there.”

Reds fans and history buffs can still find elements and evidence of Riverfront Stadium today. It just requires walking around.

To find the former home plate, look for the bronze plate located on the lowest level of the Central Riverfront garage

“It’s actually on the bottom level, 45 degrees off the elevator and 13 paces to the left. We mark that off every time the tours are given,” Walls said. “You will also find in the bottom of that garage a marker for the goal post where the Bengals played. It’s neat to remember that stadium was used for football and baseball. The multi-purpose stadium went away when that went away.”

On Sept. 11, 1985, Rose singled to left field for career hit No. 4,192 to pass Ty Cobb as the all-time leader. The spot is appropriately marked with roses.

“It’s marked right south of the Hall of Fame, right next to the 1869 Red Stockings pavilion in left-center field. First base has a marker inside the Moerlein Lager House lobby near the host desk,” Walls said.

The Reds Hall of Fame gives two-hour guided tours of GABP and also discusses the club’s vast history.

“As we give tours, we often point out where second base, third base and the right-field foul pole would be and so on,” Walls said. “Eventually, we’d like to have more markers out there for the mound where Tom Browning pitched his perfect game. People need to know a lot of history around that ballpark took place. When you step into that batter’s box next to home plate in the lower level of the parking garage, you can think of all the people that stood on that spot.”

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.