Music - Takin' it to the Streets by the Doobie Brothers. Michael McDonald is from St. Louis.
DISCLAIMER - Photos without my red watermark are not mine, they are from the internet and NOT FOR SALE.
Location - 2911 N. Grand Blvd. St. Louis, Missouri. At the corner of Grand Blvd. (RF), Dodier St. (1B), N. Spring Ave. (3B), and Sullivan Ave. (LF).
Opened April 23, 1902 Closed May 8, 1966. The park was demolished in 1966, and is now the site of the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club.
Baseball had been played at the corner of Grand and Dodier since as early as 1867. In 1902, the Milwaukee Brewers moved to St. Louis, were renamed the St. Louis Browns, and built Sportsman's Park. The Cardinals were playing about 6 blocks northwest of Sportsman's Park in Robison field. The ballpark was located at the corner of Natural Bridge Ave. and Vandeventer Ave. in Fairgrounds park. In 1920, the Cardinals abandoned Robison field and moved into Sportsman's Park with the Browns. Both teams shared the park until the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1953 to become the Orioles. Augie Busch bought Sportsman's Park from Browns owner Bill Veeck in 1953 and wanted to rename the park Budweiser Stadium, for his brewery. Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick (YEP the asterisk guy) had a cow. He did NOT want a beer as the stadium name due to concerns that may arise from a publicity standpoint. Kind of ironic, a LOT of team money was derived from beer sales. He could NOT stop Busch from renaming the stadium after himself. So in 1953, Sportsman's Park became Busch Stadium. Just about everyone still called it Sportsman's Park.
Sportsman's Park was a hitters delight, Stan Musial peppered the short right field porch all during his long Cardinal career. Babe Ruth killed the Browns when he played there. He also is the only guy to hit 3 home runs in a World Series game twice. Yep, you guessed it, both times at Sportsman's Park. The first time he did it was in 1926 in game 4. One of his home runs cleared the right field roof and smashed a Chevrolet dealership window across Grand Blvd. This was also the game where Ruth promised to hit a home run for a seriously ill little boy named Johnny Sylvester. Two years later, Ruth did it again in game 4.
A little ironic twist is the Browns only World Series appearance was in 1944. And their opponent was..... yep the St. Louis Cardinals. This is the only World Series to be played in one park. The Cards took the title 4 games to 2. This was also basically the last hurrah for the Browns. Yes the did have the "midget" Eddie Gaedel come up to hit in 1951. That was during the Bill Veeck era, when basically anything goes. All in all, the Browns were not very good, due to poor management. The Cardinals on the other hand were and still are one of the premier franchises in the National League. All in all, the Cardinals won 10 pennants and 7 World Series while they played at Sportsman'sPark.
In the early 60's, the Cardinals were making noise for a new park. The neighborhood, much like North Philadelphia and Connie Mack Stadium, had become very run down. Parking was another major problem. The last game to take place at Sportsman's Park was on May 8, 19966. The Cardinals took on the San Francisco Giants (who would also play in the last game ever at Crosley field in Cincinnati). The Giants won the game 10-5. Fittingly, the last ever home run was hit by Willie Mays in the 9th inning. He hit it off Hal Woodeshick. The last Cardinal home run was in the 5th inning. Mike Shannon hit it off Joe Gibbon. The win went to Lindy McDaniel (a onetime Cardinal) and the loss to Tracy Stallard (who gave up Roger Maris 61st home run in 1961). After the game, home plate was dug up and helicoptered to the new downtown Civic Center Stadium. It didn't take long for the wrecking ball to come. Later in 1966, the field where the gas house gang and Stan Musial roamed was demolished. The Herbert Hoover boys and girls club now sits on the site.
The grand old lady of St. Louis.
Looking down Grand Ave. from Dodier St. This would have been the right field pavillion. 10/87
The little league field just across Spring St., which would be west of where Sportsman's park was.
Looking towards where home plate was. This was taken at the corner of N. Spring and Dodier. 10/87
From Dodier Street, looking at what would have been the first base side. 10/87
This is the third base side from N. Spring Street. 10/87
Some of the urban blight off Grand Ave. 10/87
Houses falling apart off Grand Ave. 10/87
Grand Ave. and Dodier St. on a cold winter morning. This would have been the right field corner. 1/96