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Metropolitan Stadium

By Wikipedia

Metropolitan Stadium (often referred to as "the Met") was a sports stadium that once stood in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA. If you're wondering what became of the land where Metropolitan Stadium once stood, it is now part of the Mall of America - the largest shopping mall in the United States. You can almost sense Harmon Killebrew's presence as you make your way to Orange Julius.

At a glance...
METROPOLITAN STADIUM
Facility statistics
Location Bloomington, a suburb south of
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Opened April 24, 1956
First Twins Game April 21, 1961
Last Twins Game September 30, 1981
Demolished 1985
Replaced By Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Surface Grass
Construction cost $8.5M
Architect ?
Tenants
Minnesota Twins (MLB, 1961-1981)
Minnesota Vikings (NFL, 1961-1981)
Minnesota Kicks (NASL, 1976 - 1981)
Seating capacity
18,200 (1956), 30,637 (1961),
40,000 (1964), 45,919 (1975)
Dimensions
1961:
Left field line - 329 ft.
Left center field - 365 ft.
Center field - 412 ft.
Right center field - 365 ft.
Right field line - 329 ft.

1977:
Left field line - 343 ft.
Left center field - 360 ft.
Center field - 402 ft.
Right center field - 370 ft.
Right field line - 330 ft.

Backstop - 60 ft.

Bloomington's Metropolitan Stadium was built on farmland in the mid-50s for the American Association's Minneapolis Millers. The Twins arrived in 1961 and called it home until the end of the 1981 season, when the moved to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Although there was a number of new stadiums opened in the Super70s (such as Three Rivers, Veterans Stadium, Riverfront, and Busch Stadium - the so-called "cookie cutter stadiums"), all were replacing very old stadiums. Metropolitan was the first major stadium of the modern age (for our purposes, the 1950s and beyond) to be replaced.

History

It opened in 1956 as the home of a minor league baseball team, the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association, replacing ancient Nicollet Park and built to specifications of major league baseball. Although located in Bloomington, the stadium was paid for by the City of Minneapolis.

The Millers were then the top farm team of the New York Giants, and there was some hope or expectation that the Giants might relocate there. However, the "Jints" chose to follow the Brooklyn Dodgers to the west coast. The City by the Bay had been the top farm team of the Boston Red Sox, so as part of the deal, the Millers' parent team then became the Red Sox. The Bostonians were certainly not planning to move anywhere, but another American League entry, the Washington Senators did, in 1961, to become the Minnesota Twins. The Twins were joined that fall by a National Football League expansion team called the Minnesota Vikings.

The Twins and the Vikings then played at the "Met" from 1961 to 1981. The NASL soccer team Minnesota Kicks also played there from 1976 to 1981.

The Met was expanded several times through the years. During the summer of 1961, the first two tiers of the triple-deck stand were extended down the first base side, just past the right field corner. This was largely to the benefit of the Vikings. For 1965, a large double-decked grandstand, paid for by the Vikings, was installed in left field. This left the Met with the unique configuration of a double deck in left field, and bleachers behind third base. The big left field stand was originally planned to be capable of sliding toward or away from the gridiron (as Denver's Mile High Stadium later would be), but that part of the project was never realized.

In 1965, both the Baseball All-Star Game and the World Series were played at the Met, one of the few times that coincidence has happened since that game was inaugurated in 1933.

Metropolitan Stadium!

Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota as seen from beyond right field in the early 1960s.

Courtesy of LCPC Collection


FIRSTS at METROPOLITAN STADIUM
Game
04/21/1961 Senators 5, Twins 3
Umpires Bill McKinley, Hank Soar
  Nestor Chylak, Al Smith
Managers Cookie Lavagetto, Twins
  Mickey Vernon, Senators
Starting Pitchers Camilo Pascual, Twins
  Joe McClain, Senators
Ceremonial Pitch Minnesota Governor
Elmer Andersen
Attendance 24,606
Batting
Batter Marty Keough (single)
Hit Marty Keough (single)
Run Marty Keough
RBI Dale Long
Single Marty Keough
Double Lenny Green
Triple Roy Sievers (05/01/1961)
Home Run Dale Long
Grand Slam Mickey Mantle (05/02/1961)
IPHR Harmon Killebrew (07/04/1961)
Stolen Base Jim Landis (04/30/1961)
Sacrifice Hit Joe McClain
Sacrifice Fly Zoilo Versalles (04/22/1961)
Cycle Freddie Patek (07/09/1971)
Pitching
Win Joe McClain
Loss Ray Moore
Shutout Jack Kralick (04/23/1961)
Save Dave Sisler
Hit by Pitch Joe McClain hit Lenny Green
Wild Pitch Camilo Pascual (05/02/1961)
Balk Rudy Hernandez (04/22/1961)
No-Hitter Jack Kralick (08/26/1962)
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet
.

The Met suffered the fate of some other publicly-owned stadiums, and fell into disrepair during the 1970s, thus accelerating the push for construction of a new stadium, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which was completed in 1981. The Vikings and Twins moved to the Metrodome in 1982 and the Kicks got the boot. Metropolitan Stadium was demolished in 1985 and the lot sat vacant for several years, although the nearby Met Center, which had opened in 1967 just north of the Met, continued to provide entertainment for hockey fans.

The Mall of America, which opened in 1992, stands on the site of what is now nostalgically called "the Old Met." A brass plaque in the shape of home plate, embedded in the floor in the northwest corner of "Camp Snoopy", commemorates the site's days as a sports venue. Near the opposite corner, mounted high on the wall, is a red stadium chair denoting the approximate landing spot of Harmon Killebrew's longest home run, a blast to the upper deck in deep left-center field on June 3, 1967.

To commemorate the Vikings, some have suggested there could be a statue of Armen Terzian, in connection with the original "Hail Mary pass" of December 28, 1975, but so far no action has been taken on that idea.

Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
:
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.


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THE MET

LCPC Collection

Year by Year statistics: for Metropolitan Stadium


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It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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