Busch Stadium is the home of
the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team who play in the Central Division of the
National League, and although the stadium is only 5 years old, it’s the third
sports stadium to carry the Busch name in St. Louis.
In 1953 Gussie Busch, owner of Busch Beer Breweries, bought the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals team and their stadium, Sportsman Park, which was renamed Busch Stadium.
Sportsman Park was deemed obsolete and was subsequently closed in 1966 after the new Busch Memorial Stadium opened as a multi-purpose stadium which housed the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals baseball team and the St. Louis Football Cardinals.
The Busch family’s history of civic contributions to St. Louis are well known, but the purchase of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team became a personal enjoyment for Gussie Busch, who unlike other owners at the time, such as Steinbrenner of the NY Yankees or Charley O of the A’s, Busch never meddled in the inside affairs of operating the ball club.
His only desire was to provide St. Louis fans a winning team.
Whitey Herzog, Cardinals Hall of Fame manager, tells the story of the first time he was summoned to Gussie Busch’s office, which being human, was somewhat concerned about being called to a meeting with the Boss.
Whitey sat down in a plush leather chair opposite Gussie and waited for the bad news, when Gussie shocked Whitey when he told him he trusted him to run the team and had the green light to do whatever he deemed necessary to put a winning team on the field, But… he asked that he always wanted to know what Whitey did before the media so he didn’t look stupid if questioned, which was unheard of in those days of dictator owners.
After the death of Gussie Busch, the Busch family immediately began
shopping for a buyer for the Cardinals and in order to increase the team‘s
value began lobbying for a new baseball stadium to be built in downtown St.
The state of Missouri balked at providing public funds for a new stadium and the team owners threatened to begin looking at a site in Madison Illinois, adjacent to the NHRA Gateway International Raceway, to build the stadium and move the team.
Financing was acquired from St. Louis City, County and various private sources for the construction of a new Busch Stadium adjacent to the old Busch Memorial stadium.
The site would also include a Baseball Village consisting of offices, stores and eateries, but as of 2012 that project has not been started due to financing issues.
The second Busch stadium was a cookie cutter designed Ball Park similar to Riverfront, Veterans, Three Rivers and Fulton County Stadium, but the new Busch stadium was designed in the current “Retro Fit“ design which offers a view of the city skyline and the famous St. Louis Arch.
The stadium consists of 16,880 Field level seats, 9150 Terrace level seats, 3661 Bleacher seats 2886 standing room only tickets and Suites and party rooms for a total of 46,861.
In its debut season of 2006 every season game was a Sell-Out for a total attendance of 3, 407,104 a team record. However, attendance in 2006 & 2007 surpassed that number and the 2006 season ranks as the 4th largest in team history.
2006 - Quite A Year:
New team ownership was excited as not only was 2006 the first year play for the stadium, but the Cardinal baseball team brought Post-season play to the new facility.
A. October 7 & 8th saw the Cardinals and San Diego Padres compete for the National League Division Title.
B. October 14th saw the Cardinals take a 3 - 1 game lead against the New York Mets for the National League Championship.
C. October 24, 26 & 27th saw the first World Series Games between the Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers, which the Cardinals won 4 games to 1.
Busch Stadium Specifics:
Location: 700 Clark Ave St. Louis , Mo 63102
Broke Ground On Stadium: January 17th 2004
Stadium Opened: April 10th 2006
Playing Surface: Grass
Cost: $ 365 million
Seating Capacity: 43,975 - 46,861 + standing room
Left Field - 336 feet
Left Center Field - 375 feet
Center Field - 400 feet
Right Center Field - 375 feet
Right Field - 335 feet
More Information on Busch Stadium & the Cardinals