Gussie Busch

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This article is about the 3rd generation brewing magnate. For other uses, see August Busch.
Gussie Busch
Born August Anheuser Busch, Jr.
(1899-03-28)March 28, 1899
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Died September 29, 1989(1989-09-29) (aged 90)
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Occupation Brewing Executive
Spouse(s) Marie Church Busch
Elizabeth Overton Busch
Gertrude Buholzer Busch
Margaret Rohde
Children Carlota Busch Webster
Lilly Busch Hermann 1923-1995,

August Busch III
Elizabeth Busch Burke

Beatrice Busch von Gontard
Peter W. Busch
Trudy Busch Valentine
William K. Busch
Andrew D. Busch
Adolphus August Busch[1]
Parent(s) August Anheuser Busch, Sr.

August Anheuser "Gussie" Busch, Jr. (March 28, 1899 – September 29, 1989) was an American brewing magnate who built the Anheuser-Busch Companies into the largest brewery in the world by 1957 as company chairman from 1946 to 1975.[2]

He became a prominent sportsman as owner of the St. Louis Cardinals franchise in Major League Baseball from 1953 until his death. The Cardinals inducted him into the team Hall of Fame in 2014.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1899, Busch was a grandson of brewery founder Adolphus Busch and son of August A. Busch, Sr. and his wife. Starting at lower levels to learn the family business of Anheuser-Busch Company, Busch became superintendent of brewing operations in 1924 and head of the brewing division after his father's death in 1934.[3] After his older brother Adolphus Busch III's death in 1946, August A. Jr. succeeded him as President and CEO.

He led the company to become the largest brewery in the world by 1957, having previously competed with Pabst and Schlitz for the top spot. He expanded it from a single site in St. Louis to operating nine separate breweries nationwide. By 1973 Anheuser-Busch had "aggregate beer sales of 26,522,000 barrels."[2] In 1964, under his leadership, production at the St. Louis facility alone reached the ten million barrels-per-year mark.

Described as a showman and salesman,[3] Busch began using the Clydesdale team in 1933, putting them into service to commemorate the end of Prohibition by having a team "haul the first case of Budweiser down Pennsylvania Avenue for delivery to President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House."[3] He made their image part of the company logo and had them appear regularly at public events.[4]

St. Louis Cardinals[edit]

The number 85 was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals in honor of Gussie Busch in 1984.

In 1953, Cardinals owner Fred Saigh was convicted of tax evasion. Facing almost certain banishment from baseball, he put the Cardinals up for sale. When Busch got word that Saigh was seriously considering selling the team to interests who would move the team to Houston; he decided to have Anheuser-Busch get into the bidding in order to keep the Cardinals in St. Louis.[3] Ultimately, Busch persuaded Saigh to take less money ($3.75 million) than what he was being offered by out-of-town interests in the name of civic pride, and also achieved a marketing tool.[3]

As chairman, president or CEO of the Cardinals from the time the club was purchased by the brewery in 1953 until his death, Busch oversaw a team that won six National League pennants (1964, 1967, 1968, 1982, 1985, 1987) and three World Series (1964, 1967 and 1982). When his son, August Busch III, ousted him as president of Anheuser-Busch, the elder Busch remained as president of the Cardinals.

Although the Cardinals were the dominant baseball team in St. Louis, they did not own their own ballpark. Since 1920 they had rented Sportsman's Park from the St. Louis Browns of the American League. Shortly after buying the Cardinals, Busch bought and extensively renovated the park, renaming it Busch Stadium (but only after a failed attempt to rename it as Budweiser Stadium). The team played there until Busch Memorial Stadium was built in the middle of the 1966 season.[5]

Honors[edit]

In 1984, the Cardinals retired a number, 85, in Busch's honor, which was his age at the time. Thirty years later, the Cardinals announced Busch among 22 former players and personnel to be inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum for the inaugural class of 2014.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Busch married four times, having a total of ten children. Two of his marriages ended in divorce, and his fourth wife, the former Margaret Rohde, died in 1988.[3]

At the time of his death, his surviving children (with married names) were Carlota Busch Giersch of Pasadena, Calif., and Lilly Busch Hermann of St. Louis, both daughters of the late Mrs. Marie Church Busch; August A. Busch III of St. Louis and Elizabeth Busch Burke of Middleburg, Virginia, both children of the late Elizabeth Overton Busch; and Adolphus A. Busch IV and Beatrice Busch von Gontard, both of St. Louis; Peter W. Busch of Vero Beach, Florida; and Trudy Busch Valentine, William K. Busch and Andrew D. Busch of St. Louis, all six the children of Gertrude Buholzer Busch.[3]

His youngest child, daughter Christina Martina Busch, died at the age of eight in a car accident while on her way home from school in December 1974.[3]

Busch died in St. Louis on September 29, 1989, at age 90, of pneumonia.[3]

Fred Kuhlman took over as Cardinals team president.[7] Seven years later in 1996, Anheuser-Busch sold the Cardinals to a group of investors led by William DeWitt, Jr.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Born.". Time (magazine). July 27, 1953. Retrieved 2008-12-13. To August ("Gussie") Anheuser Busch Jr., 54, president of Anheuser-Busch, Inc., second biggest U.S. brewery (Budweiser), and president of the St. Louis Cardinals, and his third wife, Gertrude Buholzer Busch, 26: their first child (his fifth), a son. Name: Adolphus August. Weight: 8 lbs. 10 oz. 
  2. ^ a b Holian, Timothy J. "Adolphus Busch." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 3, edited by Giles R. Hoyt. German Historical Institute. Last modified August 09, 2013. [1]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Robert McG. Thomas, Jr., "August A. Busch Jr. Dies at 90; Built Largest Brewing Company", On This Day, New York Times, 30 September 1989, accessed 3 July 2015
  4. ^ “Budweiser’s Famous ‘Eight-Horse Hitch’,” Brewers Digest 27.5 (May 1952), 40-41
  5. ^ Smith, Curt (2001). Storied Stadiums. New York City: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1187-6. 
  6. ^ Cardinals Press Release (January 18, 2014). "Cardinals establish Hall of Fame & detail induction process". www.stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ Schlegel, John (April 3, 2010). "Former Cards executive Kuhlmann dies". www.stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
St. Louis Cardinals President
1953–1989
Succeeded by
Fred Kuhlmann