A.K.A. Busch Stadium I
St. Louis, Missouri
Tenants: St. Louis Browns (Baltimore Orioles), April 23, 1902 to September 27, 1953; St. Louis Cardinals, July 1, 1920 to May 8, 1966.
Opened: April 23, 1902
First night game: May 24, 1940
Last game: May 8, 1966
Capacity: 8,000 (1902); 18,000 (1909); 34,000 (1926); 30,500 (1953).
Owner: St. Louis Browns (1902-1952); St. Louis Cardinals (1953-1966)
Cost: $500,000 (1925 refurbishment)
St. Louis Cardinals & Baltimore Orioles tickets:
Location: Left field (NE), Sullivan Avenue; third base (NW), North Spring Avenue; first base (SW), 3623 Dodier Street; right field (SE), 2911 North Grand Avenue, later North Grand Boulevard. Same location as earlier Sportsman's Parks, but turned around so that home plate was in the west-southwest corner.
Dimensions: Left field: 368 (1909), 340 (1921), 356 (1923), 355 (1926), 360 (1930), 351.1 (1931); left-center: 379; center field: 430 (1926), 450 (1930), 445 (1931), 420 (1938), 422 (1939); deepest corner just left of dead center: 426 (1938); deepest corner just right of dead center: 422 (1938); right-center: 354 (1942); right field: 335 (1909), 315 (1921), 320 (1926), 310 (1931), 332 (1938), 309.5 (1939); backstop: 75 (1942), 67 (1953).
Fences: Left to center: 11.5 (concrete); 354 mark in right-center to right: 11.5 (1909), 33 (11.5 concrete below 21.5 wire, July 5, 1929), 11.5 (1955), 36.67 (11.5 concrete below 25.17 wire, 1956).
- Renamed Busch Stadium in 1953, but still commonly referred to as Sportsman's Park.
- The local newspaper, the Globe-Democrat, had an ad on the right-center wall that showed the star of the previous game. Just to the right of this ad, the league standings for both leagues were listed.
- The Budweiser eagle would flap its wings after every Cardinal home run. It sat on top of the left-center scoreboard. During World War II there was a War Chest sign there.
- The Herbert Hoover Boys' Club, with a baseball diamond where the major league one used to be, now stands on the site of the stadium.
- Cardinals office was at 3623 Dodier; Browns office was at 2911 North Grand.
- There were pavilion seats in the power alley in right-center.
- A second deck, from first base to third, was added in 1909 and expanded to the foul poles in 1925.
- Bleachers were added to parts of the outfield in 1926.
- The flagpole stood in fair territory until it was removed in the 1950s.
- Bill Veeck's family lived in an apartment under the stands in the 1950s.
- When he bought the stadium from the Browns in 1953, Cardinals owner Gussie Busch almost named it Budweiser Stadium but was prevented by league pressure.
- A helicopter carried home plate to Busch Memorial Stadium after the last game at Sportsman's Park on May 8, 1966.
- Site of the 1940, 1948 and 1957 All-Star games.
Recommended Reading (bibliography):
- St. Louis' Big League Ballparks by Joan M. Thomas.
- Chris Von Der Ahe and the St. Louis Browns by J. Thomas Hetrick
- The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of St. Louis Cardinals and Browns by Peter Golenbock.
- Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
- The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic (Revised Edition) by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
- City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
- Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
- Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
- Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
- Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
- The Story of America's Classic Ballparks (VHS).
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Color aerial view of Sportsman's Park courtesy of the Franklin Digital Collection.
View inside Sportsman's Park © 1962 by Stephen Atkinson.
View from outside Sportsman's Park by Munsey & Suppes.
Updated October 2006
Tickets to Baltimore Orioles, St. Louis Cardinals, NCAA Football, Paul McCartney, College Football Bowl and NCAA Basketball Tournament provided by Ticket Triangle.
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