Busch Memorial Stadium

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For the current St. Louis Cardinals ballpark, see Busch Stadium.
Busch Stadium
BuschMemorialStadium.jpg
Chicago Bears at St Louis Cardinals 9 25 77.jpg
Former names Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium (1966-1981)
Busch Stadium (1982-2005)
Location 250 Stadium Plaza, St. Louis, Missouri 63102
Coordinates 38°37′26″N 90°11′33″W / 38.62389°N 90.19250°W / 38.62389; -90.19250Coordinates: 38°37′26″N 90°11′33″W / 38.62389°N 90.19250°W / 38.62389; -90.19250
Owner St. Louis Cardinals
Operator St. Louis Cardinals
Capacity Baseball: 49,676 (1997-2005)
57,676 (1966-1996)
Football: 60,000
Field size Left Field - 330 ft (101 m)
Left-Center - 372 ft (113 m)
Center Field - 402 ft (123 m)
Right-Center - 372 ft (113 m)
Right Field - 330 ft (101 m)
Backstop - 64 ft (20 m)

Original Dimensions (1966)
Left Field - 330 ft (101 m)
Left-Center - 386 ft (118 m)
Center Field - 414 ft (126 m)
Right-Center - 386 ft (118 m)
Right Field - 330 ft (101 m)
Backstop - 64 ft (20 m)
Surface Grass (1966-1969, 1996-2005)
AstroTurf (1970-1995)
Construction
Broke ground May 25, 1964; 50 years ago (May 25, 1964)[1]
Built 1964-1966
Opened May 12, 1966; 48 years ago (May 12, 1966)[1]
Closed October 22, 1995; 19 years ago (October 22, 1995) (NFL)
October 19, 2005; 9 years ago (October 19, 2005) (MLB)
Demolished November 7-December 8, 2005
Construction cost $24 million[1]
($174 million in 2014 dollars[2])
Architect Sverdrup & Parcel
Edward Durell Stone
Schwarz & Van Hoefen, Associated
General contractor Grün & Bilfinger
Tenants
St. Louis Cardinals (MLB) (1966-2005)
St. Louis Cardinals (NFL) (1966-1987)
St. Louis Stars (NPSL / NASL) (1967-1974)
St. Louis Rams (NFL) (1995)

Busch Memorial Stadium, also known as Busch Stadium, was a multi-purpose sports facility in St. Louis, Missouri that operated from 1966 to 2005.

The stadium served as the home of the St. Louis Cardinals National League baseball team for its entire operating existence, while also serving as home to the National Football League's Cardinals team from 1966 to 1987. It opened four days after the last baseball game was played in Sportsman's Park (which had also been known since 1953 as Busch Stadium).

The stadium was designed by Sverdrup & Parcel and built by Grün & Bilfinger.[3] Edward Durell Stone designed the roof, a 96-arch "Crown of Arches".[4] The Crown echoed the Gateway Arch, which had been completed only a year before Busch Stadium opened. It was one of the first multipurpose "cookie-cutter" facilities built in the United States, popular from the early 1960s through the early 1980s.

The stadium was demolished by wrecking ball in late 2005, and part of its former footprint is occupied by its replacement stadium, the new Busch Stadium.

History[edit]

Construction[edit]

The baseball Cardinals had played at Sportsman's Park since 1920. They originally were tenants of the St. Louis Browns of the American League. Although the Cardinals had long since passed the Browns as St. Louis' favorite team, they had wanted to get a stadium of their own as early as 1920.

In 1958, Charles Farris, the city's head of development, proposed a new stadium downtown as the core of a plan to revive a 31-block area of the business district. The original design of the stadium had called for a baseball-only format, but the design was altered to accommodate the football Cardinals, who had moved in from Chicago in 1960 and shared Sportsman's Park/Busch Stadium with the baseball Cardinals.[citation needed] With support from the local Chamber of Commerce, the Civic Center Redevelopment Corporation was established in September 1959; it was given power of eminent domain, which it used to condemn the city's small Chinatown, the Grand Theater (a strip club), and various warehouses and flophouses.[1]

Groundbreaking occurred on May 25, 1964. The plan also included parking garages, a hotel (a Stouffer's hotel), and office buildings.[1] A few years later, it also became the new home of the Spanish Pavilion from the 1964 New York World's Fair.[5] The stadium opened on May 12, 1966, one month into the baseball season, as Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium. However, the "Civic Center" part was almost never used, and most people called it simply Busch Memorial Stadium.

Subsequent years[edit]

The stadium's grass was replaced with AstroTurf in 1970,[6] in part because St. Louis' notoriously hot summers made it difficult to keep the grass alive. The Cardinals initially retained the traditional dirt skin infield, then converted to sliding pits when the surface was replaced for the 1978 baseball season.[7][8] With artificial turf, the playing conditions at Busch Stadium were among the hottest in baseball,[9] with temperatures well above the local official readings.[10][11]

Anheuser-Busch bought the stadium in 1981 for $53 million and renamed it simply Busch Stadium; the price included the parking garages.[1]

New and old Busch Stadiums.

Over the years the grounds became home to bronze statues of Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, Dizzy Dean, Rogers Hornsby, Red Schoendienst, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, James “Cool Papa” Bell, George Sisler, Jack Buck and Ozzie Smith.[citation needed]

Following Busch's last 1995 event—the Rams' last home game prior to the opening of the now-Edward Jones Dome—the Cardinals retrofitted it into a baseball-only stadium. A large section of the upper deck outfield seats was closed, replaced with a hand-operated scoreboard and flags commemorating the Cardinals' retired numbers. The stadium's AstroTurf field was replaced with natural grass, and the outfield walls were repainted green from their original blue.[citation needed]

Demolition[edit]

Old Busch Destroyed.
Old Busch Stadium in the process of being torn down.

Busch Memorial Stadium was originally slated to be imploded like most modern-day stadium demolitions to be able to finish construction on the new stadium in time for the 2006 season. However, due to fear of damaging the nearby Metro subway and stadium station, it was decided to tear down the stadium with a wrecking ball piece-by-piece over a period of a few weeks.

Demolition of the stadium began at 3:07 p.m. Central Standard Time on November 7, 2005, and was completed shortly after midnight on December 8, 2005.

Part of the footprint of the old stadium is now occupied by the outfield of the current stadium. The Cardinals had planned to build Ballpark Village on the site of the stadium ($320 million for the first phase). It was to consist of boutiques and restaurants, condominium apartments anchored by the new headquarters of Centene Corporation -- all to be built in time for the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

None of the construction had occurred until groundbreaking ceremonies on February 8, 2013, and locals derisively referred to its rain soaked unfinished status before that date as "Lake DeWitt" -- after Cardinal President William DeWitt, Jr. The Cardinals in March 2009 announced the site would be used for a softball field and parking during the game.[12]

Uses[edit]

Football[edit]

Busch Stadium was the home of the St. Louis Cardinals of the National Football League, beginning with that team's 1966 season. They remained there through the 1987 season. However, the stadium was one of the smaller facilities in the NFL, never seating more than 60,000. After efforts to get a larger stadium failed, owner Bill Bidwill moved the team to Phoenix, Arizona after the 1987 season.

Busch Stadium was also briefly the home of the St. Louis Rams, who relocated from Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California, to move into the new and nearby Trans World Dome, later renamed the Edward Jones Dome. Since construction on their new home was delayed, the Rams played their first four 1995 games at Busch Stadium.

The stadium never hosted a playoff game during the Cardinals' 28-year run in St. Louis. The "Gridbirds" made only three playoff appearances during that stretch, losing at the Minnesota Vikings in 1974, Los Angeles Rams in 1975 and Green Bay Packers in 1982.

Baseball[edit]

Lou Brock stealing at Busch Stadium vs the Atlanta Braves, 1975.

In its opening year, Busch Stadium hosted the 1966 All-Star Game, a 2-1 National League victory in 10 innings most notable for being played in humid 105 °F (41 °C) temperatures. The stadium hosted World Series games in six different seasons: 1967, 1968, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 2004. The Cardinals won the World Series in 1967 and 1982 while playing in the stadium (the 1982 World Series was won at the stadium). The 1968 and 2004 World Series were clinched in Busch Stadium as well by the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox respectively.

The stadium was also the site of Mark McGwire's historic 62nd home run of the 1998 season that broke Roger Maris' single-season record, and also of McGwire's 70th of that season, for a record which lasted until Barry Bonds surpassed it in 2001. The dimensions in center and the power alleys had been altered from time to time over the years. Initially the park was very favorable to pitchers, with spacious outfield dimensions. Consequently, its design (as well as the Astroturf surface) was favorable to the Cardinals' style of play for most of the time from the 1960s through the 1990s, which emphasized good baserunning and extra-base hits. Later changes attempted to make the outfield better balanced between pitching and power hitting.[8]

Before the 1996 season, the stadium was retrofitted to become a baseball-only stadium. Part of the top deck in center field was permanently closed, and flags were put in place to honor the team's retired numbers and pennants. Even before then, the stadium had come under less scorn from baseball purists than other cookie-cutter stadiums built during the same era, partly because the "crown of arches" gave it a more traditional look than its cousins.[8]

Concerts[edit]

Acts performing at Busch Stadium include:

Seating capacity[edit]

Baseball[edit]

  • 49,275 (1966)[14]
  • 49,450 (1967–1970)[15]
  • 50,126 (1971–1978)[16]
  • 50,222 (1979–1985)[17]
  • 53,138 (1985–1987)[18]
  • 54,224 (1988–1989)[19]
  • 54,727 (1990–1994)[20]
  • 57,078 (1995)[21]
  • 57,673 (1996)[21]
  • 49,676 (1997–2000)[22]
  • 50,354 (2001–2003)[23]
  • 50,345 (2004–2005)[24]

Football[edit]

  • 51,392 (1966–1985)[18]
  • 54,692 (1986–1994)[18]
  • 60,000 (1995)[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f O’Neil, Tim (May 11, 2013). "In 1966, new Busch Stadium was a tub-thumping civic cause". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved May 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ Bilfinger Berger Corporate history animation
  4. ^ Save the Arches - jbauer.com - Retrieved January 22, 2008
  5. ^ Held, Kevin (May 25, 2010). "May 24, 1969: Spanish International Pavilion Moves to St. Louis". KSDK (St. Louis). Retrieved May 18, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Mixed feeling on Astroturf in St. Louis". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. April 14, 1970. p. 2-C. 
  7. ^ "Busch Stadium will get artificial turf". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. December 20, 1977. p. 2-C. 
  8. ^ a b c Smith, Curt (2001). Storied Stadiums. New York City: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1187-6. 
  9. ^ Hertzel, Bob (August 3, 1987). "Busch Stadium holds the heat". Pittsburgh Press. p. D2. 
  10. ^ "Turf gives Cards hotfoot". St. Petersburg Independent. Associated Press. June 16, 1970. p. 1-C. 
  11. ^ "Busch Astroturf hits 152 degrees". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Associated Press. July 2, 1970. p. 21. 
  12. ^ Ballpark Village site to become softball field, parking lot for now - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - March 19, 2009
  13. ^ "The Beatles Setlist at Busch Memorial Stadium, St. Louis, MO, USA". setlist.fm. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Cardinals Set New Record for Attendance". St. Petersburg Times. August 29, 1966. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Cardinals Send Briles Against Bell in Hopes of Winning Series at Home". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. October 7, 1967. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  16. ^ "A View From the Bleachers". Modern Steel Construction. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Some 22,000 Series Tickets Go On Sale in St. Louis Saturday". St. Joseph News-Press. October 1, 1982. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c Snyder, John (2010). Cardinals Journal: Year by Year and Day by Day with the St. Louis Cardinals Since 1882 (Second ed.). Cincinnati: Clerisy Press. p. 622. ISBN 1-57860-338-2. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Departure of Football Cardinals Helped Baseball Cardinals". RetroSimba. March 13, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  20. ^ Jackson, Andre; Scales–Cobbs, Ann (December 31, 1990). "Murders Up In City, County For 1990 Property Crimes Show Decline". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 3A. 
  21. ^ a b McGuire, John M. (April 7, 1996). "Turf's Up! The Cardinals Have a New Field of Dream". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 6. 
  22. ^ Salter, Jim (December 13, 1996). "Busch Stadium Adds Old–Fashioned Scoreboard". Fort Scott Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  23. ^ Merron, Jeff. "Sea of Red Helps Busch Grade". ESPN. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  24. ^ Shontz, Lori (February 25, 2006). "Cardinals Halt Season Ticket Sales". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. B4. 
  25. ^ "Brooks Unfazed that Rams Won't Have Dome for Home". The Register-Guard (Eugene). October 14, 1995. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]