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Busch Stadium II

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Busch Stadium II

For the current St. Louis Cardinals ballpark, see Busch Stadium.
Busch Stadium
Former names Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium (1966-1981)
Busch Stadium (1982-2005)
Location 250 Stadium Plaza, St. Louis, Missouri 63102

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

Broke ground May 25, 1964[1]
Built 1964-1966
Opened May 12, 1966[1]
Closed October 22, 1995 (NFL)
October 19, 2005 (MLB)
Demolished November 7-December 8, 2005
Owner St. Louis Cardinals
Operator St. Louis Cardinals
Surface Grass (1966-1969, 1996-2005)
AstroTurf (1970-1995)
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
Capacity Baseball: 49,676 (1997-2005)
57,676 (1966-1996)
Football: 60,000
Field dimensions 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)
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 used by its replacement stadium, the new Busch Stadium.

Seating capacity


  • 49,275 (1966)[5]
  • 49,450 (1967–1970)[6]
  • 50,126 (1971–1978)[7]
  • 50,222 (1979–1985)[8]
  • 53,138 (1985–1987)[9]
  • 54,224 (1988–1989)[10]
  • 54,727 (1990–1994)[11]
  • 57,078 (1995)[12]
  • 57,673 (1996)[12]
  • 49,676 (1997–2000)[13]
  • 50,354 (2001–2003)[14]
  • 50,345 (2004–2005)[15]


  • 51,392 (1966–1985)[9]
  • 54,692 (1986–1994)[9]
  • 60,000 (1995)[16]



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 the 1940s. Longtime owner Sam Breadon had even gone as far as to set aside money to build a new park, but was unable to find any land for it. He'd even sold the team to Fred Saigh to avoid paying taxes on that money. However, when this tax dodge came to light, Saigh was forced to sell the team to Anheuser-Busch. Brewery president Gussie Busch then bought Sportsman's Park and renamed it Busch Stadium, while remaining committed to building a new park.[17]

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. 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.[18] 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

The stadium's grass was replaced with AstroTurf in 1970, in part because St. Louis' notoriously hot summers made it difficult to keep the grass alive. Initially, the Cardinals retained a full dirt infield, but in 1977 this was also replaced with AstroTurf, except for sliding pits around the bases.[19]

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

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.

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.


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.[20]



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.


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.[19]

Before the 1995 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.[19]


Acts performing at Busch Stadium include:


External links

  • Ballparks of Baseball-Busch Stadium-St. Louis Cardinals
  • Ballparks by Munsey and Suppes - Busch Stadium
  • Busch Stadium III Construction Time-Lapse
  • Major League Baseball website
  • Sporting News
  • Saint Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Busch Stadium Demolition Diary
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