With the Midsummer Classic almost upon us, we now turn an eye to Major League Baseball when asking, "What's in a (stadium) name?" Anymore, this is often a question of capital, but we will focus on the holdout ballpark titles that remain unbought-- or, at the very least, those that straddle the invisible/subjective fence between integrity and marketing.
Wrigley Field is probably the best example of these latter dynamics-- a name that originated as a self-appointed tribute by Chicago Cubs owner William Wrigley, Jr., but which has also conveniently doubled as promotion for the Wrigley Company's various products and holdings over the years. And a more contemporary example of this is seen with Turner Field, named after the former Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner, continuing on now as an advertisement for the Turner Broadcasting System (which is presently a Time Warner subsidiary, but for more than thirty years was also the television home for the Braves on one of the first national superstations, TBS).
The St. Louis Cardinals' (third) Busch Stadium also blurs the lines between publicity and salutation, carrying on a tradition that began when August Anheuser Busch, Jr., a la William Wrigley, Jr., gave then-Sportsman's Park a name that also advertised the family business, and then replaced that ballpark with the former Busch Memorial Stadium. On a technicality that represents a complete dissolve between homage and commercialization, the current Busch Stadium is actually a corporate sponsorship deal, named for Anheuser-Busch, rather than Anheuser Busch. Got it?
In fact, it might be said that the only MLB stadium whose name is purely tribute is Kauffman Stadium, which honors Ewing Kauffman-- the Royals' first owner, and the man who brought baseball back to Kansas City (as an expansion franchise), after the A's had left town for Oakland. The organization changed the ballpark from Royals Stadium to its current name in a ceremony during the summer of 1993, just a month before the former owner passed away. Kauffman Stadium hosts its second All-Star game this Tuesday, July 10th.