Braves History: Hank Aaron spoils debut of iconic Cincinnati stadium

On this day in 1970, Hank Aaron spoiled the debut of a new stadium for the Big Red Machine.

Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds
Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Riverfront Stadium was constructed during a time where cities with professional teams had multipurpose stadiums to share between their baseball and football organizations. Construction started in 1968 and it was finally completed in 1970 and the Reds made their debut in their new home on June 30 with an NL West matchup.

The first game played at Riverfront was a sold-out matchup between the Braves and Reds with 51,050 fans in attendance. Fans at the game were hoping for a win to get things started right in the new stadium. It was hard not to be excited watching the Big Red Machine.

Cincinnati was 52-22 coming into the game while the Braves were hovering above .500 at 37-35, Unfortunately for Reds fans, Atlanta featured one of the best hitters in baseball and his name was Henry Aaron.

Hank decided to greet Reds starter Jim McGlothlin rudely with a two-run first-inning homer to give Atlanta an early lead and kickstart a three-run first inning. His home run was the first in the ball park's history and just another accolade to the list of an incredible career for Hammering Hank.

Atlanta's left fielder Rico Carty decided to join in on the fun as he blasted a three-run homer during the third inning of the game. This gave the Braves a 6-0 lead over the Reds and despite the Reds scoring two runs, Atlanta held on to win by an 8-2 final, souring an exciting day for Reds fans.

Other notable performances came from Orlando Cepeda, who sadly passed away recently. Cepeda was 3-for-5 and scored one run. Atlanta's starter for that game was Pat Jarvis and he pitched a complete game. Jarvis allowed two earned runs on nine hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

Cincinnati went on to win the NL West with a 102-60 record and made it to the World Series where they lost to the Orioles four games to one. Atlanta finished second to last in the division just ahead of the Padres with a 76-86 record.

Hank Aaron finished with 38 home runs and 118 RBI that season, setting his career total to 592 with a career .313 batting average. Hank was such a remarkable player and it's always great to revisit those moments.

Another one of those moments came four years later at Riverfront Stadium when Aaron tied Babe Ruth's record of 714 home runs. A few days later, Hank broke that record in front of a crazed crowd at Fulton County Stadium with his 715th career home run.

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