Cheap Seats

Here stands baseball's perfect pitchman. Here stands baseballs perfect maverick

There's been a lot of talk the last few days about the Stan Musial statue outside of Busch Stadium's west gate.

It's ugly and an insult to Musial who deserves a monument that not only resembles him physically, but also one that represents his graceful and unique playing style. But did you know the Stan the Man monument, installed after he retired at the end of the 1963 season, isn't the first statue to stand outside of the Cardinals' ballpark?

That distinction goes to trailblazing owner Chris Von der Ahe who ran the team that would later become known as the Cardinals from 1882-1898. Von der Ahe, a saloon owner and self styled entreprenuer, built the first Redbirds monument -- to himself.

Von der Ahe is credited by some with the introduction of the hot dog to baseball parks, the idea to soak the captive stadium audience with high beer prices and of coining the word "fan" to describe his patrons.

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Chris Von der Ahe's statue once stood outside of his ballpark. Now it marks his grave.

The Browns, as the team that would later be known as the Perfectos and then the Cardinals was called during his ownership, kept admission prices low to draw more people to the park to drink beer and eat red hots. As a result, they led the American Association in Attendance before jumping to the National League in 1892.

Von der Ahe had the statue set up outside his club's ballyard in 1885 and it was mocked by those who attended games, opponents and sportswriters. But. even though it was eventually taken down, it didn't completely disappear. Von der Ahe, who lost his team and his fortune, kept the momument to himself and had it placed over his grave in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis. He died in 1913.