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Capacity: 49,738
Busch Stadium

 

Area of fair territory: 110,000 sq. ft.

Area of foul territory: Large

 

Fences: 8 ft

 

Elevation: 455 feet

 

2002 TICKETING
IF Field Box $36
IF Loge Box $34
OF Field Box $31
OF Loge Box $28
IF Loge Reserved $25
IF Terrace Box $23
OF Terrace Box/OF Loge Reserved $21
IF Terrace Reserved $18
OF Terrace Reserved $18 adults, $8 children
Bleachers $10
Upper OF Terrace Reserved $9 adults, $4 children
IF Loge Reserved $25
IF Terrace Box $23
OF Terrace Box/OF Loge Reserved $21
IF Terrace Reserved $18
OF Terrace Reserved $18 Adults
$8 Children
Bleachers $10
Upper OF Terrace Reserved $9 Adults
$4 Children
General Information

Address:
250 Stadium Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63102
Tickets: 314-421-2400

Who Plays Here: St. Louis Cardinals (NL)
First Opened: May 12, 1966
Surface: Grass (1966 to 1969); artificial (1970 to 1995); grass (1996 to date).

Architect: Sverdrup & Parcel and Associates; Edward Durell Stone (design collaborator); Schwarz & Van Hoefen, Associated
Owner: St. Louis Cardinals

Busch Stadium

 

 

History

   The venerable Busch Stadium officially opened on May 12, 1966, and was built in hopes of attracting the fans necessary to support a major league franchise.  It was the first major redevelopment of the downtown area, at a time when it was not fashionable to build stadia in the downtown area.  But it spurred a rebirth of downtown St. Louis.  Through the 1999 season, more than 70 million people have attended 2,617 games.

   The ballpark is actually the second Busch Stadium in St. Louis.  The original was known as Sportsmanís Park until August Busch purchased it from the St. Louis Browns in 1953 and changed the name to Busch Stadium.  It served as the home of the Cardinals until the new Busch Stadium was opened, as the centerpiece of the downtown revitalization project.

   Five World Series have been played at Busch. The Cardinals won the Series in 1967 and 1982 but lost in 1968, 1985, and 1987.

   Throughout the years, Busch Stadium has added improvements that include new scoreboards, a state-of-the-art sound system, and a Family Pavilion.  The playing field at Busch Stadium is 10-to-30 feet lower than the street level.

   The stadium structure is almost a perfect circle, with a diameter of 800 feet, and covers more than 12 acres.  It is 130-feet tall, measured from the playing field to the top of the stadium.  The even, 8-foot fences, and symmetrical dimensions make it a prototypical "cookie-cutter" park - one of the first of its kind.

   The idea of a circular stadium goes back over 2,000 years to Emperor Vaspasian; and inspired a trend of circular, multi-purpose facilities, when America thought symmetry and consistency was beautiful in ballparks - witness RFK in Washington; Three Rivers in Pittsburgh; Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia; Cinergy Field in Cincinatti; and Atlanta's Fulton-County Stadium.

   But Busch Stadium has made a few nice changes to win over the purists.  The top of the stadium is adorned with a series of arches, mimicking the Gateway Arch, which is located a few blocks away.  Now that the St. Louis Rams have moved to a dome stadium, Busch is quietly adapting itself to baseball.  A manually operated scoreboard was introduced in 1997, and natural grass replaced artificial turf the previous year.  The visitors bullpen was made visible to the fans, and the seating capacity was redesigned (and reduced from 57,673 to 49,676) to better accommodate the fans sightlines.

   If I had to vote to preserve one cookie-cutter stadium, I would cast it for Busch.  The new touches to the stadium have made it truly unique.  And inside the stadium, the magic of St. Louis baseball takes over - no city is as passionate about their tram, and the Cardinals logo is painted everywhere - on the grass, on the red seats, and on the surrounding downtown buildings.  The atmosphere here during McGwire's home run chase was simply electric. 

Playing Field:
In 1996, natural-grass replaced the artificial turf that had been in place since 1970.

Busch Stadium Firsts
Game - May 12, 1966 (Cards defeat Atlanta, 4-3)
Batter - Felipe Alou
Hit - Jerry Buchek
Double - Gary Geiger
Triple - Julian Javier
Home run - Felipe Alou
Grand slam - Curt Flood
Stolen base - Lou Brock
Victory - Don Dennis
Save - Nelson Briles

Busch Stadium and the Gateway Arch

Busch Stadium at night

Photos courtesy of ballparks.com

Analysis

 

   The ballpark used to be a tough place to homer, and for years Whitey Herzog built winning teams based on speed, pitching and defense.  Today, players like Andy Van Slyke, Tommy Herr and Willie McGee would be out of place.  In three of the last four seasons, this park has boosted home runs and runs, even as the National League has gotten more run-happy, what with the addition of more hitter-friendly parks and Coors Field.

   The reason?  Perhaps it is the fact that the grass has slowed down grounders, making hitters more willing to go to the air.  Also, it seems that the ball carries better than it used to.  While not a launching pad, it is certainly a fair park; during the hot Missouri summer months, when the field warms up, the ball carries well down the lines and flies out to the alleys.  The infield is kept hard as a result of the dry weather, adding to the offensive dimension of the ballpark.

 

Defense: The artificial turf used to give good, clean hops to infielders, but the new natural grass is almost as good.  Visiting infielders usually keep their errors down, though the Cards themselves are defensively weak in their infield.

   Jim Edmonds would have been a perfect fit for the old Busch Stadium, but with the center field wall a good 12 feet in tighter than it was in the 1980s, a center fielder with great range isn't as important as it used to be.  Still, a Gold Glover in center is a good idea, because of the deepish power alleys.

 

 

 

1999-2001

2001

Errors: 106 108
Infield errors: 104 99

 

Who benefits: The dimensions aren't too big or too small - they are roughly average for the majors.  Mark McGwire hit 38 of his 70 HR in 1998 at Busch; in 1999, he added 37 dingers at home, versus 28 on the road.  The dimensions of the park alone don't explain this - most likely, McGwire plays better because of the tremendous fan support he has here, and carries the team with him.

     Albert Pujols hit .354 at home and .304 on the road.  Cy Young contender Matt Morris was 15-2 at home, with a 1.62 ERA in 122 innings, and 7-6 on the road with a 5.15 ERA.  An extreme groundball pitcher who gives up few home runs, Morris uses the clean, steady infield to his advantage.

 

Who gets hurt: The lack of cheap home runs hurts light hitters, and forces young hitters to become more complete in their use of the park.  The reachable power alleys are larger than average, hurting teams without a good center fielder.  St. Louis fans are among the best in baseball, but can be demanding and rough on disappointments.

 

 

Park Factors

 

  Run HR Avg L-Avg R-Avg L-HR R-HR H 2B 3B
1996 96 93 100 100 99 89 96 98 107 87
1997 96 95 98 95 100 95 95 96 103 55
1998 107 110 98 98 98 136 101 103 97 119
1999 103 107 100 102 99 116 104 102 91 56
2000 104 120 99 100 99 123 118 98 98 106
2001 99 96 100 97 102 111 86 98 89 121

 

 

1999-2001

2001

Walks: 110 105
Strikeouts: 99 102

 

 

 

Location

 

St. Louis, Missouri:  Near the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, and a few blocks away from the majestic Gateway Arch.  (Also, across the street from the National Bowling Hall of Fame.)  Left field (E), Broadway, Interstate 70, Gateway Arch, and Mississippi River; third base (N), Walnut Street; first base (W), Seventh Street and 300 Stadium Plaza; right field (S), Spruce Street; Stadium Plaza surrounds the park.

 

Seating Chart

 

Busch Stadium seating diagram

 

Dimensions

 

Foul lines: 330

Power alleys: 386 (1966), 376 (1973), 386 (1977), 383 (July 1983), 375 (1992), 372 (1996/97)

Center field: 414 (1966), 410 (1971), 414 (1972), 404 (1973), 414 (1977), 402 (1992); Backstop: 64 (Vin Scullyís unofficial measurement during 1985 World Series showed this to be 50 rather than 64)

Foul territory: large.

 

Fences

 

Left and right fields: 10.5 feet (padded concrete), 8 (padded canvas, 1992)

Center field: 10.5 feet (padded concrete, 1966), 8 (wood, 1973), 10.5 (padded concrete, 1977), 8 (padded canvas, 1992).

 

Fun Facts

  • Highest walk factor in NL in 2000
  • From 1970 to 1976 the entire field was artificial turf, except for the part of the infield that is normally dirt on a grass field. In 1977 this was carpeted except for the sliding pits.  This is one of only two instances where there was a full dirt infield with an otherwise fully artificial field, the other being Candlestick Park in 1971.
  • Ninety-six open arches surround the field just below the roof.
  • From 1966 to 1982, right field scoreboard lights showed a cardinal in flight whenever a Cardinal hit a home run; the same show was put on every time Lou Brock set a new base-stealing record.


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