Jubilant fans stormed the field at Busch Stadium in St. Louis last night to celebrate the Cardinals' first World Series championship since 1968.

Mounted police and canine units tried to restrain the crowd, but fans quickly took over the field, ripping up the bases, shredding the Astroturf and scooping up handfuls of dirt.

"It's fantastic," shouted Rick Montgomery. "It's the best thing to happen to St. Louis in the past 20 years."

A large fireworks display kept many in the festive crowd in the stadium to watch. Outside, a relatively orderly crowd milled around, ringed by cars with honking horns.

"It's been a great day," said Estelle Louenick of Iuka, Miss., who had come here to visit her son and see her first major league baseball game. Said Bob Louenick, "We wouldn't have missed this for anything."

After most of fans left the stadium area to continue their merrymaking, mounted policemen escorted the rest off the field and groundskeepers inspected the torn turf.

Policemen with dogs were dispatched outside the stadium to maintain order on the crowded streets in anticipation of a night-long celebration of the Cardinals' ninth series victory, the most by a National League team.