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Busch gears for final weekend

Busch gears for final weekend

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ST. LOUIS -- Choosing between the onetime single-season home run leader and the first player in Major League history to hit 30 or more home runs in his first five seasons is a decision only an avid baseball fan would envy.

From Sept. 30-Oct. 2, Cardinal fans will learn the results of several difficult decisions they have voted on. They are just a couple of events that will commemorate the rich, 39-year history of Busch Stadium during the last home series of the regular season for the Cardinals. The Redbirds take on the Cincinnati Reds.

"We want to have one last hurrah at Busch Stadium with the best fans in baseball," said Mark Lamping, president of the St. Louis Cardinals. "The weekend will be filled with heartfelt tributes to the most memorable athletes, coaches, broadcasters, and plays that have made Cardinals baseball the tradition that it is today."

Fans recently had the opportunity to vote for their Top 10 moments in Busch Stadium history and earlier this season fans voted on the "All Busch Stadium Team." On Friday, fans will discover what the Top 10 moments in Busch Stadium history are, and on Saturday they will learn who made the All-Busch Stadium team.

Choosing who will be the starting first baseman -- Mark McGwire, who set a record for most home runs hit in a single season when he clubbed 70 in 1998, or Albert Pujols, the 25-year old MVP candidate who has hit 30 or more home runs in each of his first five seasons and has consistently been a threat for the Triple Crown -- was likely the hardest decision for most fans. But fans will also find out who won out in center field -- Jim Edmonds or Willie McGee -- and left field -- Lou Brock or Vince Coleman?

The celebration of Busch Stadium memories begins on Friday as the Cardinals pay tribute to the 20th anniversary of the 1985 National League champions. Among the guests of honor will be Ozzie Smith, Vince Coleman, Jack Clark, Bob Forsch, Rick Horton, John Tudor, Tom Herr, Whitey Herzog and more to be announced.

Throughout the game on Friday, fans will get to watch replays of the Top 10 moments in Busch Stadium history. All paid fans will receive their own DVD of the highlights, courtesy of MasterCard.

Moments that likely will be among the highlights include: Bob Gibson's record strikeouts, the Budweiser Clydesdales leading August A. "Gussie" Busch Jr. around the field and Jim Edmonds' walk-off home run in the 12th inning to win Game 6 of the 2004 NLCS.

The club will honor its relationship with the Anheuser Busch Brewing Company on Saturday, when more than 16,000 employees of the company and their family members will be in attendance for Anheuser-Busch Family Day. Anheuser-Busch will continue to support baseball in St. Louis for at least the next 20 years through a marketing partnership with the Cardinals, which includes naming rights for the new Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals' final regular-season home game at Busch Stadium will be played Sunday. After the game, many of the great Cardinals players and coaches -- since 1966 -- will be honored. Concluding the celebration, the Budweiser Clydesdales will circle the Busch Stadium playing surface one last time -- and for the first time since 1995. Every fan in attendance will receive a "Final Game" certificate, with a similar design as the Inaugural Game certificate that fans were issued as they arrived at Busch Stadium on May 12, 1966.

Steven A. Norris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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