Home of the St. Louis Browns
from 1902 until 1953, when they moved east to become the Baltimore Orioles
, and the St. Louis Cardinals
from 1920 to 1966. Originally owned by the Browns; bought by the Cardinals
in 1953 and renamed Busch Stadium
, after owner August Busch
II. Busch wanted to name the park Budweiser
Stadium, but was vetoed by the National League
. Hosted more major league games than any other ballpark.
Baseball was played on the site of Sportsman's Park as early as 1866 by local teams, and and baseball grew the park was upgraded. In 1875, then named the Grand Avenue Grounds, it was the home of the National Association's St. Louis Brown Stockings; in 1892 Chris von der Ahe brought a National League club (then also named the Browns) to the park, hoping to boost the business of his nearby pub. The Browns left the park after the season, moving to Robison Park, and eventually were renamed the Cardinals. But when the Milwaukee American League team moved to St. Louis in 1902, they moved into the ballpark and renamed it Sportsman's Park.
The park was rebuilt in 1908 and renovated in 1925, adding a second deck of seats around the infield and adding a 21 foot screen above the short right field fence. The screen was in play, making fly balls hit to right field an adventure, much like Fenway Park's Green Monster. Bill Veeck, owner of the Browns after World War II, disciple of P. T. Barnum and employer of Eddie Gaedel, lived in an apartment underneath the stands in the early fifties.
Sportsman's Park hosted ten World Series … and all of them included the Cardinals. The Browns won only one pennant while in St. Louis, in 1944, and promptly lost the World Series to the Cardinals in the "Trolley Series." In the early 60s, football's St. Louis Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals), moved in for a brief period of time. Sportman's Park was replaced during the wave of new ballparks in the late 60s, and after the last game there on May 8, 1966, home plate was carried by helicopter to the Cardinals' new home, Busch Memorial Stadium.
Dimensions (after the 1925 renovation):
Left: 351 feet