We are only days away from Major League Baseball’s Opening Day and the people of St. Louis will soon be flocking to the home of the Cardinals. And when the Cardinals take the field, fans will make their way to Busch Stadium. Dating back to 1953, there is plenty of history instilled in the current version of the Cardinals’ home. And with a relatively new makeover, Busch stadium has plenty to offer fans of America’s favorite pastime.
History of Busch Stadium
As the third reconstruction of the Busch Stadium series, the current home of the Cardinals is often referred to as New Busch Stadium. The original Busch Stadium opened in 1953 and lasted until 1966. The following stadium, called Busch Memorial Stadium, operated from 1966 to 2005. On April 4, 2006 the current Busch Stadium opened for the first time to hold a minor league game for affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals debuted in New Busch Stadium six days later with a win over the Milwaukee Brewers by a score of 6-4. Recent Cardinals’ great Albert Pujols homered in the game to lead St. Louis to victory.
While Busch Stadiums’ groundskeepers know using fertilizer for the organic lawn may not involve exact numbers, most of the stadium’s dimensions and designs do. Busch Stadium now holds 43,975 seats in retro-style along with 3,700 club seats and 61 luxury suites. The home attendance in New Busch Stadium has never dipped below fourth in the MLB, with last year’s attendance ranking second. The distance from home plate to the left-field foul pole is 336 feet. The distance to the right-field pole is just a foot shorter. To center field, though, home plate is an even 400 feet.
The construction of the stadium, which broke ground on January 17, 2004, cost $365 million. That number roughly translates to $427 million today. With a view of St. Louis’ downtown skyline, Busch Stadium is now a retro-classic stadium as opposed to the “cookie-cutter” design of Busch Memorial Stadium. New Busch Stadium has several statues as well. The two most prominent statues are the Eads Bridge statue arching over one of the entrance gates and the bronze Stan “The Man” Musial statue.
The newest home of the St. Louis Cardinals may be young compared to some baseball parks, but it has still seen its fair share of big games. As far as baseball goes, New Busch Stadium has held playoff games for the Cardinals in 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. And of course, the team also played in the World Series in New Busch Stadium, winning the trophy in 2006 and 2011.
The MLB All-Star Game was held in Busch Stadium in 2009, in which Barack Obama threw out the first pitch before the American League would defeat the National League. The home of the Cardinals has also played host to the University of Missouri, which has started to play one game per year in Busch Stadium.
In other sports, Busch Stadium has been the site of college football. Southeast Missouri State and Southern Illinois University played each other in the first football game there on September 21, 2013. One of the most notable games played in Busch Stadium was a soccer game. Tickets sold out within 20 minutes for a friendly match between the English Premier League’s Manchester City and Chelsea on May 23, 2013.