Sportsman’s Park is a name with which people usually describe various baseball ballparks, which were located in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. Generally speaking, there have been a wide variety of structures on the same patch of land, in the northern part of the city, at the corner of Grand Boulevard and Dodier Street. The Park was home to the St. Louis Browns from about 1920 to 1953. The team represented the American League, while the other local team, the St. Louis Cardinals represented the city in the National League. Eventually, the Browns left the city and moved to Baltimore, Maryland. The changed their names to Baltimore Orioles, a team which still stands to this day. The park eventually became known as Busch Stadium, although many people continued to refer to it as Sportsman’s Park for several years afterwards.
This facility has a long history with the sport of baseball. In fact, baseball games have been played there since at least 1867. August Solari, a local entrepreneur, eventually acquired the land in 1866, and he started to stage games, paving the way to a long-standing tradition of baseball int that neighborhood which would last many decades. Originally, the facility was actually known as the Grand Avenue Ball Grounds. It is not exactly understood when exactly the facility acquired its new name, but ome baseball historians claim that the venue was renamed to Sportsman’s Park in 1876, about ten years after its inception. However, evidence of the new name did not appear on printed media until pretty much 1885, when the first headlines started to refer to this venue as Sportsman’s Park. The facility was upgraded in 1881, when a grandstand was built. In the early 1900s, the stadium acquired a new incarnation. In 1902, a new version of Sportsman’s Park was built, and this facility became forever linked with the history of football, as well as baseball. The venue became the main practice field as well as home field for the St. Louis University Football teams. During those years, the teams were coached by one of the most legendary figures in the sport, Eddie Cochems. Besides his perfect name for being a coach (Coach’em!) this trainer actually is widely considered as the father of forward pass, a playing strategy that is still considered a fantastic and pivotal approach to football today. The first ever legal forward pass was thrown by Bradbury Robinson in 1906, but it was developed at the Sportsman’s Park earlier. Initially, forward pass was known as “air attack,” and it took off almost immediately as a major technique. By the 50s, unfortunately the city was simply not able to support two teams. The situation led to some financial instability, which unfortunately meant that the stadium was sold. After the sale, the stadium was replaced in 1966 by a new facility, known as Busch Memorial Stadium. The latter became one of the most iconic stadiums in the history of baseball, and it also hosted a wide variety of other major events, including a concert by The Beatles in 1966, during their final tour of the United States. Today, the site where the original Sportsman’s Park once stood is home to the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club. The facility was donated by the former proprietary, August Busch. The original diamond was still intact, up until it was finally cleared 55 years after the stadium’s demolition.