Home Run

St. Louis scores again and again as one of the nation’s best baseball cities.

Culture

Story By Deborah Johnson
Visuals By Michael Thomas

We love baseball in St. Louis, and the nation has noticed. WalletHub recently placed St. Louis third on its list of Best Baseball Cities in the United States, behind only New York and Los Angeles. The financial website’s criteria for developing the list included “31 key indicators of baseball fan-friendliness” that included the local MLB team’s performance level, average ticket price, stadium accessibility and more.

Helping the Gateway City land in one of WalletHub’s top spots, the St. Louis Cardinals drew 3.4 million fans to downtown Busch Stadium in 2018, second only to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. This comes after drawing 3.5 million fans to the ballpark in 2017. To add to the honors, the Cardinals have won 11 World Series Championships (only the New York Yankees have won more) and 19 National League pennants as of spring 2019.

In addition, WalletHub ranked St. Louis first for having the most-engaged MLB fans—not a surprise for a city whose devotees are often referred to as the “Best Fans in Baseball.” The Cardinals also ranked fourth for best performing MLB team and were fifth on the list of cities with the most accessible MLB stadiums.

The St. Louis Cardinals routinely draw well over three million fans to Busch Stadium each season.

While we love our Cardinals, the St. Louis region has a few other ways to catch nine innings. Baseball fans can head to O’Fallon, Mo., to check out the River City Rascals, or to Sauget, Ill., to see the Gateway Grizzlies. Both teams are members of the Frontier League, one of the four longest-running independent leagues in the nation.

If professional teams aren’t your thing, you can watch any of the many high school or college baseball and softball teams around the area, plus there are youth teams such as those at the Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club, which hosts competitive leagues for children ages 8-13.

The Gateway Grizzlies in Sauget, Ill., are part of the Frontier League, one of the longest-running independent leagues.

St. Louis is also home to the Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1973 to honor amateur baseball players from the St. Louis area. Recent inductees include player-coach-manager Douglas Dietz; former Mathews-Dickey player Harold Grace and St. Louis Challenger Baseball League president Buck Smith.

But you don’t have to head to the ballpark or watch a game on TV to engage in baseball in St. Louis. St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball beat writer Derrick Goold recently published an updated version of his book, 100 Things Cardinals Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, while long-time Cardinals television announcer Dan McLaughlin shares his vast baseball knowledge via his “Scoops with Danny Mac” podcast and website.

By playing on youth teams through Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club, kids develop a love of baseball.

And if baseball history appeals to you, visit the Cardinals Hall of Fame, located next door to Busch Stadium at Ballpark Village downtown. There, you’ll find many items from the team’s 144-year history on display, including the first pitched ball from the 1926 World Series, Stan Musial’s final game jersey, Bob Gibson’s 1968 Cy Young Award and David Freese’s shredded jersey from Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.

With professional and amateur baseball teams, halls of fame and knowledgeable fans, it’s easy to see why St. Louis is high on the list when it comes to baseball love.

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