Opened in 1966, the former home of the St. Louis Cardinals originally was known as Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium.
The Cardinals left their previous home, Sportsman Park, in June 1970, and inaugurated the new, multi-purpose stadium later that month.
The stadium’s original playing surface was grass, which proved difficult to maintain in a multi-purpose setting. Replaced with Astroturf in the 1970’s, grass returned to the stadium during mid-1990’s renovations.
The stadium’s architecture paid homage to the St. Louis Arch.
The St. Louis arch loomed over the stadium, however, the stadium’s circular, enclosed shape did not allow for any sweeping vistas of the arch.
Additional changes made during the mid-1990’s renovations were removal of seats above center field and addition of a hand-operated scoreboard.
The mid-1990’s renovations improved significantly the stadium’s baseball ambiance.
Nothing says baseball like a stadium named after a beer company.
Although considered a “cookie-cutter” stadium, Busch Stadium had its share of majestic sight lines.
With its large expanse of seating and playing field, the glow of night baseball at Busch Stadium was especially striking.
One benefit of the cookie cutter stadiums was they allowed fans the opportunity to view the playing field from every vantage point simply by walking the entire circumference of the upper deck – something that is no longer possible in any major league ballpark still in use.
The upper and lower seating bowl was a sea of red plastic, riser-mount seats.
In 2004, the Cardinals began construction of new ballpark to be partially located in a parking lot just south of Busch Stadium.
During the summer of 2005, the new stadium could be seen rising along side old Busch Stadium.
Construction of the new stadium dominated the view from the outer concourse located behind right field.
A walk along that concourse during the summer of 2005 was bittersweet as it foretold the end of an era and the coming of another lost ballpark.
Fans purchasing souvenirs had a view of the shape of things to come.
The entrance to the New Busch Stadium under construction at the intersection of Clark Avenue and Stadium Plaza provided a striking example of the architectural differences between the two ballparks.
The new ballpark’s left field sits in place of old Busch Stadium’s right field/first base seating section. An outline of a portion of Busch Stadium’s outer wall is still visible across Clark Avenue (which was added after the demolition of old Busch Stadium) which runs alongside the new stadium. The following two photographs show the former site along Walnut Street prior to asphalt pavement for parking.
The Cardinals plan to turn this portion of the site into a “ballpark village” with retail and residential development.
Old Busch Stadium is now just another lost ballpark. Hopefully, the Cardinals, in developing their ballpark village, will find a way to pay homage to the former ballpark and demarcate precisely where the ballpark used to sit.