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. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans give the city a reputation as "a top-notch sports town" and "Baseball City USA." The Sporting News rated St. Louis the nation's "Best Sports City" in 2000.[1]

St. Louis has three major league sports teams. The St. Louis Cardinals, one of the oldest franchises in Major League Baseball, have won 11 World Series; one played against the old cross-city rival St. Louis Browns in 1944. The Cardinals' 11 titles are second only to the New York Yankees' 25.[2] The St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League appeared in three Stanley Cup finals from 1968 to 1970, and made 25 consecutive playoff appearances from 1979-80 to 2003-04.[3] The city's National Football League franchise, the St. Louis Rams, won the Super Bowl in 1999.

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

St. Louis also 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 also the birthplace of corkball.

The Gateway Cross Cup is an International professional cycling part of the national calendar of weekend races after the conclusion of the midwest road bicycle racing calendar at the Gateway Cup/Labor Day bicycle races in St. Louis. The cyclo-cross competition is a combination of mountain bike racing and road bicycle racing.

Major league teams[edit]

Team Sport League Established Venue Championships
St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Major League Baseball 1882 Busch Stadium 11
St. Louis Blues Hockey National Hockey League 1967 Scottrade Center 0
St. Louis Rams Football National Football League 1936
(1995 for St. Louis)
Edward Jones Dome 1


The St. Louis Cardinals' Busch Stadium during its first season in 2006.
See footnote[4]

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, winning its 11th and most recent in 2011. The team plays at the 43,795-seat Busch Stadium (the third ground to bear that name), and 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)[5] was held on July 14, 2009, at Busch Stadium.[6][7] The game was the first all star game held in St. Louis since 1966.[8]


The Edward Jones Dome, home to the National Football League's Rams since their move to St. Louis in 1995.

The St. Louis Rams, founded in 1936 in Cleveland, won the pre-merger NFL Championship twice, in 1945 and 1951. After playing in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, the team moved to St. Louis in 1995. The Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV in 1999, their only Super Bowl. The team's Edward Jones Dome hosts 66,965 spectators.

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.


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 Scottrade 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 Blues are the only surviving Expansion Six NHL team that has not won the Stanley Cup.


St. Louis was home to two National Basketball Association teams (the St. Louis Hawks and the St. Louis Bombers) and also to the American Basketball Association's Spirits of St. Louis before the ABA-NBA merger in June 1976.


Taylor Twellman was the Major League Soccer Golden Boot and MVP in 2005.
Main article: Soccer in St. Louis

St. Louis has long had a reputation as being one of America's soccer hotbeds, and is home to what is arguably the richest soccer history in the nation, despite not hosting a Major League Soccer franchise. St. Louis has a strong tradition of prep and select soccer, which is followed very closely by many people in the city. It has been suggested that prep soccer in St. Louis enjoys a similar following to prep hockey in Minnesota.[citation needed] The Saint Louis University men's soccer team has made 16 NCAA Final Four appearances and has won 10 national championships. The team consistently ranks in the Top 10 of all Division I soccer teams in attendance.

The Edward Jones Dome hosted a soccer match on August 10, 2013, when Real Madrid and Internazionale played a friendly game in front of 54,184 fans, a record attendance for a soccer match in St. Louis.[9] St. Louis also hosted a friendly in May 2013 between Chelsea and Manchester City in front of a sell-out crowd of 48,000 at Busch Stadium.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11] 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.

Officials attempted to pave the way for a St. Louis-area expansion team based in Collinsville, Illinois, to enter Major League Soccer in 2009; however, MLS awarded the 16th franchise to Philadelphia instead. 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.[12] The first annual dinner was held in 1971.[13]

St. Louis is represented in the MASL by the St. Louis Ambush in the USL by Saint Louis FC.


St. Louis is also one of the few cities with Corkball leagues. Corkball is a "mini-baseball" game featuring a 1.6-oz. ball and bat with a barrel that just 1.5" across. Corkball is St. Louis's classic baseball game. Originally played on the streets and alleys of St. Louis in the early 1900s, the game has leagues around the country, thanks to St. Louis servicemen introducing the game to their buddies during World War II and the Korean War. It has many of the features of baseball, yet can be played in a very small area because there is no base-running.

Individual sports[edit]

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

Gateway International Raceway hosts NHRA Drag Racing 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.[14] In 2006, the College Cup was played at Hermann Stadium on the campus of Saint Louis University.

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 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. 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.[15]

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.

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

In March 2005, the 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.

Minor league teams[edit]

Team Sport League Established Venue Champs
River City Rascals Baseball Frontier League 1999 T.R. Hughes Ballpark 2*
St. Louis Slam Women's football Women's Football Alliance 2003 CBC High School &
Oakville High School
Gateway Grizzlies Baseball Frontier League 2001 GCS Ballpark 1
St. Louis Lions Soccer USL Premier Development League 2006 Tony Glavin Soccer Complex
St. Louis Stunners Basketball American Basketball Association 2006 St. Louis Community College gym 0
St. Louis Bombers Rugby Super League 1962 SportPort, Maryland Heights 0
St. Louis Ambush Soccer Major Arena Soccer League 2013 Family Arena 0
St. Louis FC Soccer United Soccer League 2014 World Wide Technology Soccer Park 0


  • River City Rascals have 2 championships: 1 as Zanesville Greys and 1 as River City Rascals.

Former teams[edit]

Team Sport League Established Began in
St. Louis
Venue Titles
in St. Louis
St. Louis
St. Louis Vipers Roller Hockey Roller Hockey International 1993 1993 St. Louis Arena/Kiel Center 1 1999
St. Louis Stampede Arena Football Arena Football League 1987 1994 Scottrade Center 0 1995
St. Louis Browns Baseball American League 1894 1902 Sportsman's Park 0 1954
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
St. Louis Maroons Baseball National League 1884 1884 Union Base Ball Park 0 1886
St. Louis Stars Baseball Negro National League 1922 1931 Stars Park 3 1931
Spirits of St. Louis Basketball American Basketball Association 1967 1974 St. Louis Arena 0 1976
St. Louis Hawks Basketball National Basketball Association 1946 1955 Kiel Auditorium 1 1968
St. Louis Bombers Basketball National Basketball Association 1946 1950 St. Louis Arena 0 1950
St. Louis Cardinals Football National Football League 1898 1960 Busch Stadium I (1960–1965)
Busch Stadium II (1966–1987)
0 1988
St. Louis All Stars Football National Football League 1923 1923 Sportsman's Park 0 1923
St. Louis Gunners Football National Football League 1931 1931 St. Louis National Guard Armory 0 1934
St. Louis Saints Women's football Lingerie Football League 2008 2012 Family Arena 0 2012
Missouri River Otters Hockey United Hockey League 1991 1999 Family Arena 0 2006
St. Louis Flyers Hockey American Hockey Association,
American Hockey League
1928 1953 St. Louis Arena 5 1953
St. Louis Eagles Hockey National Hockey League 1917 1934 St. Louis Arena 0 1936
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
St. Louis Stars Soccer National Professional Soccer League
North American Soccer League
1967 1967 Busch Memorial Stadium/Francis Field 0 1978
Saint Louis Athletica Soccer Women's Professional Soccer 2007 2009 Soccer Park 0 2010
AC St. Louis Soccer USSF Division 2 Professional League 2008 2009 Anheuser-Busch Center 0 2011
Saint Louis Hummers Softball International Women's Professional Softball Association 1976 1977 Harrawood Sports Complex 0 1979


  1. ^ "Best Sports Cities 2000". The Sporting News. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  2. ^ ESPN - MLB World Series Winners - Major League Baseball
  3. ^ "St. Louis Blues — History: Year-By-Year Records". St. Louis Blues. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Leach, Matthew (2008-07-16). "Countdown begins for '09 All-Star Game". News ( Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  6. ^ Associated Press (2007-01-16). "St. Louis gets 2009 All-Star game". Baseball (USA Today). Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  7. ^ ESPN news services (2007-01-16). "Selig signs off on 2009 All-Star Game for St. Louis". Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  8. ^ Matthew, Leach (2007-01-16). "St. Louis awarded 2009 All-Star Game". News. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  9. ^ a b Sports Illustrated, Real Madrid dominates Inter to close American tour, August 10, 2013,
  10. ^ Homepage. St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame website. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  11. ^ "Ambush return to St. Louis", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 22, 2013.
  12. ^ [1] webpage. St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame website. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  13. ^ [2] webpage. St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame website. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  14. ^ NCAA Soccer, Men's Attendance Records, Annual Home Attendance Champions,
  15. ^ Rugby Mag, 2012-2013 Preseason All-Division Men College Top 25, August 28, 2012,