St. Louis Cardinals fans are known for their dedication. They demonstrated their affection to the tune of almost $900,000 this week in an auction of items salvaged from the old Busch Stadium, currently under demolition.
A urinal from the Cardinals locker room, the team's bullpen phone and a portion of the foul pole were among the more interesting items sold. The foul pole fetched $4,347, while the bullpen phone and the urinal each sold for $2,174. An official with Leland's, the auction company assisting the Cardinals, said the person who won the urinal identified himself as a urologist who will use it for his office.
The Cardinals played their last game in the 39-year-old Busch Stadium on Oct. 19. Demolition started earlier this month and the entire structure is expected to be completely gone by March. The Cardinals plan to open the 2006 season in a new ballpark, also to be called Busch Stadium.
Players' lockers, which included the nameplate and chair, were popular items. The locker used by Albert Pujols sold for $21,503, while Jim Edmonds' locker brought in $12,730. Parts of Tony La Russa's office, including his desk and chair, yielded $7,002.
Fans will be able to buy vials of infield dirt for $5 starting this weekend, but two bidders took it a step further, buying the final home plate for $16,762 and three bases from Game 3 of the World Series for $10,251.
This weekend, the Cardinals will sell cheaper items, ranging from single game-used bases to small sections of the home dugout flooring. The team already liquidated more than 20,000 seats at $450 a pair.
When all is done, it's possible that the Cardinals will raise the most ever in a stadium auction. Five years ago, the Pittsburgh Sports & Exhibition Authority, which owned Three Rivers Stadium, raised a total of $1.1 million by selling pieces of the facility that was the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Steelers. An auction of items from Veterans Stadium, the former home of the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles, raised $700,000 last year.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.