Sports in St. Louis

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The city of St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States is home to a number of professional and collegiate sports teams. The Sporting News rated St. Louis the nation's "Best Sports City" in 2000.[1] and the Wall Street Journal named it the best sports city in 2015.[2]

St. Louis has two major league sports teams. The St. Louis Cardinals, one of the oldest franchises in Major League Baseball (MLB), have won 11 World Series, second only to the New York Yankees' 27.[3] One of their titles was played against the old cross-city rival St. Louis Browns in 1944. The St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League (NHL) won the 2019 Stanley Cup, appeared in three championship finals from 1968 to 1970, and made 25 consecutive playoff appearances from 1979–80 to 2003–04.[4]

The newest team in St. Louis is the St. Louis BattleHawks of the XFL. The city is slated to get another major professional team with the arrival of a Major League Soccer expansion team to begin play in 2022. St. Louis has an extensive history in soccer, contributing at least one participant to each FIFA World Cup contested by the United States men's team. The city is the birthplace of corkball.

A view of Busch Stadium from the top of the Gateway Arch


Current teams[edit]

Major league teams[edit]

Team Sport League Established Venue Championships
St. Louis Blues Ice hockey National Hockey League 1967 Enterprise Center 1
St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Major League Baseball 1882 Busch Stadium 11
St. Louis MLS team Soccer Major League Soccer 2019 St. Louis MLS stadium 0

Minor league and notable amateur teams[edit]

Team Sport League Established Location Venue Champs
Fire & Ice SC Soccer Women's Premier Soccer League Belleville, Illinois Belleville West High School Stadium 1
Gateway Grizzlies Baseball Frontier League 2001 Sauget, Illinois GCS Ballpark 1
River City Rascals Baseball Frontier League 1999 O'Fallon, Missouri CarShield Field 3[a]
Saint Louis FC Soccer USL Championship 2014 Fenton, Missouri World Wide Technology Soccer Park 0
St. Louis Ambush Indoor soccer Major Arena Soccer League 2013 St. Charles, Missouri Family Arena 0
St. Louis Battlehawks Football XFL 2018 St. Louis, Missouri The Dome at America's Center 0
St. Louis Jr. Blues Ice hockey North American 3 Hockey League 1978 St. Louis, Missouri Affton Ice Rink 5
St. Louis Slam Women's football Women's Football Alliance 2003 St. Louis, Missouri St. Mary's High School 3
St. Louis Surge Basketball Women's Blue Chip Basketball League 2004 Saint Louis, Missouri Washington University in St. Louis Field House 2
St. Louis Trotters Basketball Independent Basketball Association 1970 St. Louis, Missouri Mathews Dickey Boys & Girls Club 1
  1. ^ River City Rascals have two championships: one as the Zanesville Greys and one as River City Rascals.

Baseball[edit]

The St. Louis Cardinals' Busch Stadium during its first season in 2006.
See footnote[5]

St. Louis is represented in Major League Baseball by the Cardinals, founded in 1882 and playing in the league since 1892. The team won its first World Series in 1926 and its 11th and most recent in 2011. The team plays at the 43,795-seat Busch Stadium (the third ground to bear that name), which has a view of the city's Gateway Arch.

The 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game between the American League (AL) and the National League (NL)[6] was held on July 14, 2009, at Busch Stadium.[7][8] It was the first All-Star Game held in St. Louis since 1966.[9]

The St. Louis Browns played in the AL from 1902 to 1953.

The St. Louis Giants were a Negro League Baseball Team from 1906-1921. In 1922, the Giants were renamed the St. Louis Stars and went on to win championships in 1928, 1930, and the club’s final season, 1931. National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees James “Cool Papa” Bell, Willie “The Devil” Wells, and George “Mule” Suttles wore the St. Louis Stars uniform.

Football[edit]

The Edward Jones Dome (now known as The Dome at America's Center), former home of the NFL St. Louis Rams from 1995 until 2015. It will be the home of the XFL St. Louis Battlehawks beginning in 2020.

St. Louis has been the home of four National Football League (NFL) franchises. Three years after the NFL was founded in 1920, it accepted the St. Louis All-Stars as a franchise for the 1923 NFL season. The team finished 1–4–2 in league play, and a 2–5–2 overall record while finishing fourteenth in the standings. The team's first NFL game was on October 7, 1923, and it ended in a 0–0 tie as they played on the road against the Green Bay Packers. A week later they played to another 0–0 tie in their first home game, against the Hammond Pros, a traveling team from Hammond, Indiana. St. Louis played at Sportsman's Park, a facility that also hosted both of the professional baseball teams in the city: the Cardinals and the Browns. Their sole victory came on November 11, 1923, when they defeated the Oorang Indians (from LaRue, Ohio), 14–7.

The second franchise was the St. Louis Gunners. The Gunners were an independent professional football team based that played the last three games of the 1934 National Football League season, replacing the Cincinnati Reds on the league schedule after the Reds' league membership was suspended. They won their first game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (now Steelers) 6–0, but lost the last two to the Detroit Lions (40–7) and the Green Bay Packers (21–14). Six of the Reds players joined the team for the last two games. The team was headquartered at the St. Louis National Guard Armory, which accounts for its nickname the 'Gunners'.

The third franchise was the St. Louis Cardinals and they played in St. Louis from 1960 to 1987. They advanced to the playoffs just three times (1974, 1975 & 1982), never hosting or winning in any appearance. In 1987, the team moved to Phoenix, Arizona and became the Phoenix Cardinals; the team changed its geographic location name to Arizona in 1994. Before moving to St. Louis, the Cardinals were based in Chicago. The Chicago Cardinals played there from their founding in 1920 until their move to Missouri in 1959.

The fourth franchise was the St. Louis Rams who played in the city from 1995 to 2015. Founded in 1936 in Cleveland, Ohio, the Rams won the pre-merger NFL Championship twice, in 1945 and 1951. After playing in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995. The team appeared in 2 Super Bowls while based in St. Louis, defeating the Tennessee Titans 23–16 to win Super Bowl XXXIV in 1999, and losing 20–17 to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI in 2001. The team's home in St. Louis, the Edward Jones Dome, hosted 66,965 spectators.

On January 13, 2016, it was announced that NFL owners voted 30–2 to allow Rams ownership to move the team back to Los Angeles for the 2016 season.[10][11]

In December 2018, it was announced the XFL would place a team in St. Louis. The St. Louis Battlehawks begin play in February 2020 and play their home games at the Dome.

Saint Louis University football coach Eddie Cochems developed the first modern passing offense in American football history in 1906. Cochems' star halfback, Bradbury Robinson, threw the first legal forward pass on September 5, 1906, in a 22-0 victory over Carroll College at Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Ice hockey[edit]

The St. Louis Blues are a professional ice hockey team in St. Louis. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team is named after the famous W. C. Handy song "Saint Louis Blues", and plays in the 19,150-seat Enterprise Center in downtown St. Louis. The franchise was founded in 1967 as one of the expansion teams during the league's original expansion from six to twelve teams. The team won the Stanley Cup in 2019.

The first NHL team to call St. Louis its home was the St. Louis Eagles. The franchise moved, from Ottawa, in time for the 1934–35 NHL season. The Ottawa Senators had played in the NHL from 1917–1934. During that time the team had won the Stanley Cup in 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1920, 1921, 1923, and 1927. Following the Cup win in 1927 the team went on a sharp decline and in December 1933 rumors surfaced that the Senators would merge with the equally strapped New York Americans. This information was denied by Ottawa club president Frank Ahearn, who had sought financial help from the league. The team played the full 1933–34 season, transferring one home game to Detroit. Near the end of the season, reports surfaced that the club had entered into a deal with St. Louis "interests" to move the club. The team lost its last home game by a score of 3–2 to the Americans on March 15, 1934, before a crowd of 6,500. The final game of the season was a 2–2 tie with the Maroons at the Montreal Forum on March 18, 1934.

The Eagles would survive only one season, as the team continued to lose money due to high travel costs. At that time, the league only had nine teams, with St. Louis playing in the Canadian Division. The division consisted of two teams in Montreal (the Canadiens and Maroons), one team in Toronto (Toronto) and the New York Americans. The American Division hosted the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Black Hawks and the New York Rangers. The Eagles would finish with a league-worse record of 11-31-6.

Basketball[edit]

St. Louis was home to two National Basketball Association (NBA) teams, the St. Louis Bombers (1949–50) and the St. Louis Hawks (1955–1968), who won the NBA Title in 1958, and also to the American Basketball Association (ABA)'s Spirits of St. Louis (1974–76), before the ABA–NBA merger. Since 2011, St. Louis has supported the St. Louis Surge, a women's professional basketball team owned by Khalia Collier, which played in the Women’s Blue-Chip Basketball League (WBCBL) through 2018 before moving to the Global Women's Basketball Association (GWBA) for the 2019 season.[12][13] The Surge has won two national championships and five regional.[14][15]

Soccer[edit]

Taylor Twellman was the Major League Soccer Golden Boot and MVP in 2005.

On August 20, 2019, Major League Soccer announced it had approved St. Louis as the league's 28th franchise. The yet-to-be-named team is expected to join in the 2022 season and to play in a yet-to-be-built soccer-specific stadium next to Union Station.[16]

St. Louis is represented in the IPL by the St. Louis Ambush and in the USL by Saint Louis FC., who play their games at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton.

St. Louis has long had a reputation as being one of America's soccer hotbeds, and is home to arguably the richest soccer history in the nation. The city has a strong tradition of prep and select soccer, which is followed very closely by many area residents. St. Louis has contributed at least one participant to each FIFA World Cup contested by the United States men's team. The Saint Louis University men's soccer team has won 10 national championships, appeared in 16 NCAA Final Fours, and consistently ranks among the top-10 Division I soccer teams by attendance.

In 2013, Chelsea and Manchester City played to a sellout crowd of 48,000 at Busch Stadium.[17] Later that year, on August 10, the Edward Jones Dome hosted a friendly between Real Madrid and Internazionale before 54,184 fans, who set a St. Louis record for attendance for a soccer match.[17]

Every U.S. team in World Cup history has included at least one St. Louisan on its roster, and 29 St. Louisans have been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.[18] Five St. Louisans, including many from the historically Italian neighborhood of The Hill, played on the U.S. team for the 1950 World Cup, which defeated England 1-0 in one of the most noted upsets in World Cup history. This event was chronicled in the 2005 film The Game of Their Lives (released on DVD as The Miracle Match). Several recent American soccer players are from St. Louis, including Brad Davis, Chris Klein, Pat Noonan, Matt Pickens, Steve Ralston, Mike Sorber, Tim Ream, and Taylor Twellman. Additionally, current Bosnia and Herzegovina player Vedad Ibišević attended high school in the city and played a season for SLU.

St. Louis is the former home of several professional teams, including the St. Louis Stars, which played in St. Louis from 1967–1977 in the North American Soccer League. St. Louis also was the home of the St. Louis Steamers, an indoor soccer team that played in St. Louis from 1979–1988. The Steamers averaged over 17,000 fans during their peak, outdrawing the St. Louis Blues NHL team.[19] The St. Louis Ambush stole the scene from 1992–2000. Featuring mainly local talent, the team won the 1995 NPSL championship, which was and still is the only professional soccer championship in the history of St. Louis.

The Saint Louis Athletica competed in Women's Professional Soccer from 2009 to 2010. Athletica played its home matches on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and later moved to Scott Gallagher Soccer Park in west county. The team folded in May 2010 when donors did not continue to fund the team.

The St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame, established in 1971, is located at the Midwest Soccer Academy and includes a museum with various exhibits.[20] The first annual dinner was held in 1971.[20]

Corkball[edit]

St. Louis has several recreational corkball leagues. A variant of baseball, corkball is played with a 1.6-oz. ball and a bat whose barrel is 1.5" wide. It has many of the features of baseball, yet can be played in a very small area because there is no base-running. Invented on the streets and alleys of St. Louis in the early 1900s, the game has leagues around the country, thanks to servicemen who introduced the game to their buddies during World War II and the Korean War.[21]

Individual sports[edit]

St. Louis was home to four prominent twentieth-century boxers: Sonny Liston, Henry Armstrong, and brothers Leon and Michael Spinks. The Spinkses are the only brothers to have captured the heavyweight boxing title. Leon's son Cory Spinks has also held a world title.

The Gateway Cross Cup is an international professional competition in cyclo-cross, a combination of mountain bike racing and road bicycle racing.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway hosts NHRA Drag Racing, IndyCar Series, and NASCAR racing events 5 miles (8 km) east of the city in Madison, Illinois.

College sports[edit]

Saint Louis University (SLU) plays NCAA Division I sports as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. SLU dropped football as an intercollegiate sport in 1949, but SLU is best known for its men's basketball and men's soccer programs. SLU men's soccer led the NCAA in average attendance in 1999, 2001, and 2003, drawing over 2,700 fans per match each season.[22] In 2006, the College Cup was played at Hermann Stadium on the SLU campus.

The Metro East region, across the Mississippi River in Illinois, is home to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), whose teams play as the SIU Edwardsville Cougars in the Division I Ohio Valley Conference. Like SLU, SIUE does not sponsor football, but unlike SLU has never had a football program. SIUE is also known for its men's soccer program, and has an active rivalry with the Billikens.

The main campus of Lindenwood University, located in the suburb of St. Charles, also fields a number of sports teams, most of them in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference. Three Lindenwood programs compete as effective Division I members in sports that have no Division II national championship. The women's ice hockey team competes in College Hockey America, the women's gymnastics team competes in the Midwest Independent Conference, and the men's volleyball team plays in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Lindenwood's rugby program, despite having started only in 2011, is one of the top ranked rugby programs in the country.[23]

Lindenwood also has a sister campus on the Illinois side of the river in Belleville; that school is currently a dual member of the NAIA and USCAA.

The University of Missouri–St. Louis, located just outside the city limits in St. Louis County, also has an NCAA Division II athletic program in the UMSL Tritons. All of the school's sports compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

In NCAA Division III, the Washington University Bears, representing Washington University in St. Louis, have won 18 national titles in four different sports.

In March 2005, The Dome at America's Center, then known as Edward Jones Dome, in St. Louis hosted the final two rounds of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, also known as the Final Four. In April 2009, the Edward Jones Dome hosted the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship Final Four. The Scottrade Center also hosts the annual "Braggin' Rights" game, a men's college basketball rivalry game between the universities of Illinois and Missouri. St. Louis is roughly equidistant from the two campuses.

The Scottrade Center hosted the 2007 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament on April 5 and April 7, 2007.

Former teams[edit]

Team Sport League Established Began in
St. Louis
Venue Titles
in St. Louis
Left
St. Louis
St. Louis Browns Baseball American League 1894 1902 Sportsman's Park 0 1954
St. Louis Giants Baseball Negro National League 1906 1906 Giants Park 0 1921
St. Louis Maroons Baseball Union Association

National League

1884 1884 Union Base Ball Park 1 1886
St. Louis Stars Baseball Negro National League 1922 1931 Stars Park 3 1931
St. Louis Stars Baseball Negro American League 1937 1939 Stars Park 0 1939
St. Louis Terriers Baseball Federal League 1914 1914 Handlan's Park 0 1915
Spirits of St. Louis Basketball American Basketball Association 1967 1974 St. Louis Arena 0 1976
St. Louis Bombers Basketball Basketball Association of America
National Basketball Association
1946
1949
1949
1950
St. Louis Arena 0 1950
St. Louis Hawks Basketball National Basketball Association 1946 1955 Kiel Auditorium 1 1968
St. Louis Swarm Basketball International Basketball League 1999 2001 Family Arena 2 2001
St. Louis Stampede Arena Football Arena Football League 1995 1995 Scottrade Center 0 1996
St. Louis Renegades/

RiverCity Rage/

Show-Me Believers

Arena Football Indoor Professional Football League

National Indoor Football League

United Indoor Football

Indoor Football League

2001 2001 Family Arena / Scottrade Center 0 2009
Missouri Monsters/

St. Louis Attack/

River City Raiders

Arena Football Ultimate Indoor Football League

X-League Indoor Football

American Indoor Football

Arena Pro Football

2013 2013 Family Arena 0 2017
St. Louis All Stars Football National Football League 1923 1923 Sportsman's Park 0 1923
St. Louis Cardinals Football National Football League 1898 1960 Busch Stadium I (1960–1965)
Busch Stadium II (1966–1987)
0 1988
St. Louis Gunners Football National Football League 1931 1931 St. Louis National Guard Armory 0 1934
St. Louis Rams Football National Football League 1936 1995 Edward Jones Dome 1 2016
St. Louis Saints Women's Football Lingerie Football League 2008 2012 Family Arena 0 2012
Missouri River Otters Ice Hockey United Hockey League 1991 1999 Family Arena 0 2006
St. Charles Chill Ice Hockey Central Hockey League 2013 2013 Family Arena 0 2014
St. Louis Bandits Ice Hockey North American Hockey League 2003 2006 Hardee's IcePlex 3 2012
St. Louis Braves Ice Hockey Central Professional Hockey League 1963 1963 St. Louis Arena 0 1967
St. Louis Eagles Ice Hockey National Hockey League 1934 1934 St. Louis Arena 0 1936
St. Louis Flyers Ice Hockey American Hockey Association
American Hockey League
1928
1944
1942
1953
St. Louis Arena 5 1953
St. Louis Heartland Eagles Ice Hockey United States Hockey League 2001 2003 Hardee's IcePlex 0 2004
St. Louis Vipers Roller Hockey Roller Hockey International 1993 1993 St. Louis Arena/Kiel Center 1 1999
St. Louis Ambush Indoor Soccer National Professional Soccer League 1984 1992 St. Louis Arena/Scottrade Center 1 2000
St. Louis Steamers/
St. Louis Storm
Indoor Soccer Major Indoor Soccer League 1977 1979 St. Louis Arena 0 1992
St. Louis Steamers Indoor Soccer World Indoor Soccer League
Major Indoor Soccer League
1997 2000 Family Arena/Scottrade Center 0 2006
AC St. Louis Soccer USSF Division 2 Professional League 2008 2009 Anheuser-Busch Center 0 2011
Saint Louis Athletica Soccer Women's Professional Soccer 2007 2009 Soccer Park 0 2010
St. Louis Stars Soccer National Professional Soccer League
North American Soccer League
1967 1967 Busch Memorial Stadium/Francis Field 0 1978
Saint Louis Hummers Softball International Women's Professional Softball Association 1976 1977 Harrawood Sports Complex 0 1979
St. Louis Aces Tennis World TeamTennis 1994 1994 Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park 1 2011
St. Louis Slims Tennis World TeamTennis 1985 1985 St. Louis Arena 0 1985

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rawlings, John. "Best Sports Cities 2000". Sporting News. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  2. ^ Toler, Lindsay (2016-01-07). "Wall Street Journal: St. Louis Is the Top Sports City in 2015". www.stlmag.com. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  3. ^ "MLB World Series Champions - Major League Baseball - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  4. ^ "St. Louis Blues — History: Year-By-Year Records". St. Louis Blues. Archived from the original on 2008-10-04. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
  5. ^ Taylor, Phil (October 31, 2011). "Where's The Boo In Booster?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2011-10-28. Redbird Nation's reputation as the most knowledgeable, loyal and, above all, friendly fans in the majors .... 'Our fans are the best because they're just as passionate as anywhere else...but they're probably a little more fair-minded,' says St. Louis manager Tony La Russa.
  6. ^ Leach, Matthew (2008-07-16). "Countdown begins for '09 All-Star Game". News. MLB.com. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
  7. ^ "St. Louis gets 2009 All-Star game". USA Today. Associated Press. 2007-01-16. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
  8. ^ ESPN news services (2007-01-16). "Selig signs off on 2009 All-Star Game for St. Louis". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
  9. ^ Matthew, Leach (2007-01-16). "St. Louis awarded 2009 All-Star Game". News. MLB.com. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
  10. ^ Hanzus, Dan (January 12, 2016). "Rams to relocate to L.A.; Chargers first option to join". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  11. ^ "Rams to Return to Los Angeles". St. Louis Rams. January 12, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  12. ^ https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/st-louis-surge-owner-shoots-more-women-pro-basketballs-owner-referee-ranks#stream/0
  13. ^ https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/st-louis-surge-owner-shoots-more-women-pro-basketballs-owner-referee-ranks#stream/0
  14. ^ http://anderscpa.com/proactive-plays-make-for-a-winning-relationship-st-louis-surge/
  15. ^ https://www.ksdk.com/article/entertainment/television/show-me-st-louis/st-louis-surge-owner-stops-by-show-me-st-louis/63-f5e2cb32-0907-4a5b-b3da-bf2cbb22f292
  16. ^ "MLS Adds St. Louis as League's 28th Team". The New York Times. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  17. ^ a b Sports Illustrated, Real Madrid dominates Inter to close American tour, August 10, 2013, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/soccer/news/20130810/real-madrid-inter.ap/?sct=sc_t2_a4
  18. ^ Homepage. St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame website. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  19. ^ "Ambush return to St. Louis", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 22, 2013.
  20. ^ a b [1] webpage. St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame website. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  21. ^ Pierce, Charles P. (June 1, 2000). "The Sport That Time Forgot". Esquire Magazine. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
  22. ^ NCAA Soccer, Men's Attendance Records, Annual Home Attendance Champions, http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/m_soccer_RB/2011/attend.pdf
  23. ^ Rugby Mag, 2012–2013 Preseason All-Division Men College Top 25, August 28, 2012