Busch Memorial Stadium: Wikis

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Busch Stadium
BuschMemorialStadium.jpg
Former names Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium (1966-1981)
Busch Stadium (1982-2005)
Location 250 Stadium Plaza, St. Louis, Missouri 63102
Coordinates 38°37′26″N 90°11′33″W / 38.62389°N 90.1925°W / 38.62389; -90.1925Coordinates: 38°37′26″N 90°11′33″W / 38.62389°N 90.1925°W / 38.62389; -90.1925
Broke ground May 25, 1964
Built 1964-1966
Opened May 12, 1966
Closed October 22, 1995 (NFL)
October 19, 2005 (MLB)
Demolished November 7-December 8, 2005
Owner St. Louis Cardinals
Surface Grass (1966-1969, 1996-2005)
AstroTurf (1970-1995)
Construction cost US$25 million
Architect Sverdrup & Parcel and Associates; Edward Durell Stone; Schwarz & Van Hoefen, Associated
Capacity Baseball: 49,676
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)
Tenants
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). Similar in style to other multi-purpose sports stadiums built during the same time period, it was sometimes referred to as a "Cookie cutter"-style stadium.

The stadium was designed by Sverdrup & Parcel and built by Grün & Bilfinger[1]. Edward Durrell Stone designed the park's most enduring feature, the roof's 96-arch "Crown of Arches,"[2] The Crown echoed the iconic Gateway Arch, which was completed only a year before Busch Stadium officially opened. It was one of the first multipurpose facilities built in the United States from the early 1960s through the early 1980s, along with those in Washington, New York, Houston, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and some others. The original design of the stadium had called for a baseball-only format, but the design was altered to accommodate football, a fact which arguably shortened its existence. 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.

Contents

History

When it opened it was known as Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium, until December 31, 1981. It became just Busch Stadium the following day. The stadium's name came from the Busch family of Anheuser-Busch, who owned the baseball team until March 1996 and championed the stadium's construction.

The grounds were 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 most recently, Ozzie Smith. The stadium's playing surface, originally natural grass, was replaced with Astroturf in 1970 because St. Louis' typically hot summers made it difficult to keep the grass alive. Originally, the Cardinals continued to use a full dirt infield, but replaced it with an all-Astroturf infield (except for sliding pits around the bases) in 1976.

By the early 1990s, the stadium appeared to be falling into disrepair. Following Busch's last 1995 event (the Rams' last home game prior to the opening of the now-Edward Jones Dome), a massive reconstruction project began that resulted in the retrofitting of the ballpark to a baseball-only stadium. A large section of the upper deck outfield seats was closed. In its place, a hand-operated scoreboard and several flags commemorating the Cardinals' retired numbers were installed. The stadium's AstroTurf field was torn up and replaced with natural grass, and the outfield walls were repainted green from their original blue. Even before the renovations, baseball purists looked on Busch more highly than other cookie-cutter parks. For example, the upper deck was not nearly as high as was typical for cookie-cutter parks. Also, the "Crown of Arches" gave it a more traditional look than its contemporaries.

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Football

Busch Stadium was the home of the St. Louis Cardinals (NFL) beginning with that team's 1966 season. They remained there through the 1987 season, and then relocated to Tempe, Arizona after owner Bill Bidwill failed to convince the city to pay for a new football-only stadium.

Busch Stadium was also briefly the home of the St. Louis Rams, who relocated from Los Angeles 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.

Baseball

Busch Stadium hosted World Series games in six different seasons: 1967, 1968, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 2004. 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. Busch Stadium was also where the Curse of the Bambino died in 2004.

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.

Demolition

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 rail line 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 Central Standard Time on November 7, 2005.

Current use and plans for site

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 has occurred and locals derisively refer to its rain soaked unfinished status 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.[3]

Gallery

References

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