1. Union Park
Location: 25th and Cass
It had 10,000 seats, and they called it the Palace Park of America. No need for steroids here: The left field line was less than 250 feet. The St. Louis Unions played there in 1884, the St. Louis Maroons in 1885 and 1886. A fire started by some errant Fourth of July fireworks seriously damaged the clubhouse—but didn’t result in any forfeits or cancellations.
2. Robison Field
Location: Vandeventer and Natural Bridge
That’s Robison, as in the one-time owners of (and the family credited with saving) the Cardinals. Now the site of Beaumont High School, it was at various times in the late 1800s and early 1900s also known as Cardinal Field, Vandeventer Lot, League Park and New Sportsman’s Park.
3. Sportsman’s Park
Location: Grand and Dodier
Now the site of the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club, the sad-sack stadium was home to the Brown Stockings (1875–1877), Red Stockings (1875), Browns (1882–1892, 1902–1953) and Cardinals (1920–1966). It’s still (and probably always will be) the only ballpark to host an entire World Series (Browns and Cards in 1944). It was also the site of Hammerin’ Hank Aaron’s first home run in professional baseball.
4. Stars Park
Location: Compton and Laclede
Completed midseason, 1922, Stars Park was built exclusively for the St. Louis Stars of the Negro Leagues, who’d previously played at Giants Park at North Broadway and Clarence. Among other eccentricities, the left field wall was only 269 feet from home plate and doubled as one wall of a trolley car barn; balls hit over the barn counted as ground-rule doubles. The park shared the property with Vashon High School.
5. Coronado Hotel
Location: 3701 Lindell
Built in 1926, this hotel was where Mae West, Barbara Stanwyck and “Give ’Em Hell” Harry stayed when they were in town. It was also a Cardinals hangout and where the owners, players and wives clinked champagne flutes after the Gashouse Gang’s World Series win over the Detroit Tigers in 1934.
6. Grant’s Farm
Location: 10501 Gravois
When Gussie Busch was king of both the brewery and the ballpark, he frequently made key decisions about the fate of the team here. But the team was also invited to grace the Teutonic mansion—especially after completing victorious seasons.
7. Park Plaza Hotel
Location: Kingshighway and Lindell
The year was 1934. The case was J.H. Dean v. the St. Louis National League Baseball Club. The judge was the honorable Kennesaw Landis. The courtroom? His $45-a-night suite. The problem? Dizzy and brother Paul neglected to join the Cardinals on a road trip to Detroit, resulting in a 10-day suspension and $100 fine. Dean decided to sue—and represented himself. The result? Dizzy struck out.
8. The home of Cool Papa Bell
Location: Dickson Street
The 5-foot-11 left-handed pitcher turned into a defensive center fielder and base-stealing leadoff man believed by many to be the fastest man in baseball. Bell died in his home in 1991 at the age of 87. The city renamed part of his street “James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell Avenue.” Of course, the people on Tucker knew him well: For 21 years he worked in city hall as a custodian and night watchman.
9. Elizabeth Street on the Hill
Location: The Hill
This hallowed block is where Joe Garagiola and Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra resided when they were growing up. (Future sportscaster and voice of the Cardinals Jack Buck lived down the street.) Once when discussing life in St. Louis, Garagiola said, “Not only was I not the best catcher in the Major Leagues, I wasn’t even the best catcher on my street!” The street has been renamed “Hall of Fame Place.”
10. Stan Musial and Biggie’s
Location: 5130 Oakland
Now it’s nothing but a tract of land bordering Forest Park Community College, but back in the ’60s and ’70s, it was where the players hung out. It was a sports bar before sports bars and served steaks it advertised as “substantial” and entrées that ranged from $4.50 to $10.50.
11. Busch Stadium II
Location: 250 Stadium Plaza
It was the House Gussie Busch Built. Any field where Bob Gibson spent years scowling from a pitcher’s mound, where Lou Brock shamelessly stole base after base, where Willie McGee loped in the outfield, where pennants and World Series were won, ranks as Elysian Fields to us. And, boy, did we love those 96 open arches.
12. A: Mike Shannon’s (the old): 100 N. 7th
B: Mike Shannon’s (the new): 620 Market
This place qualifies as baseball Valhalla. At the old Mike Shannon’s, Fox Sports star Joe Buck asked his girlfriend, Ann, for her hand during a post-game broadcast. At the new one, the décor is all baseball—towers of signed balls, rooms named after favorite players and areas screened off so the players can eat in relative obscurity. Like the Field of Dreams, Mike built it, and they did come.
13. Heine Meine Field
Location: Lemay Ferry and Little Broadway
The 9 acres of Heine Meine are privately owned and still in use—almost 100 years after opening. The Redbirds head there for pickup games. As for that name: Heine Meine was a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ’30s who also owned a bar next to the field. In the past few years, Cardinals Care has helped finance major improvements, including better lights.
14. Busch Stadium III
Location: Stadium Plaza
Sure, it’s only two years old, but we are talking hallowed ground here, and wherever that statue of Stan stands and a World Series has been won, we call home. And revered. And sacred.