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Metropolitan Stadium

Metropolitan Stadium at Night
Tenants: Minnesota Twins (AL); Minnesota Vikings (NFL)
Opened: April 24, 1956
First Twins game: April 21, 1961
Last Twins game: September 30, 1981
Demolished: 1985
Surface: Grass
Capacity: 18,200 (1956); 30,637 (1961); 40,000 (1964); 45,919 (1975)
Architect: Osborn Engineering
Cost: $8.5 million
Location: In Bloomington, a suburb fifteen miles south of downtown Minneapolis, near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. 1st base (W) Cedar Avenue South; right field (E) East 83rd Street; Left field (S) 24th Avenue South; 3rd base (N) 83rd Street (renamed to Killebrew Drive).
Dimensions: Left field: 329 (1961), 330 (1962), 344 (1965), 346 (1967), 330 (1975), 343 (1977); short left center: 365 (1961); 360 (1966), 373 (1972), 350 (1975), 346 (1976), 360 (1977); deep left center: 402 (1961), 435 (1965), 430 (1968), 410 (1975), 406 (1976); deepest left center corner: 430 (1965), 406 (1975); center field: 412 (1961), 430 (1965), 425 (1968), 410 (1975), 402 (1977); deepest right center corner: 430 (1965); deepest right center: 402 (1961), 435 (1965), 430 (1968), 410 (1977); short right center: 365 (1961), 373 (1968), 365 (1972), 370 (1977); right field: 329 (1961), 330 (1962); backstop: 60.
Fences: Left field: 8 (wire, 1961), 12 (1964), 7 (1974), 12 (1977); center field: 8 (wire, 1961); right field: 8 (wire, 1961), 12 (1964), 8 (1970); right field corner bt the foul pole: 5 (3 concrete base, then 2 steel).
Metropolitan Stadium in the Day

Metropolitan Stadium was built on a farm in 1956 for the American Association Minneapolis Millers. The owner of the New York Giants (the parent team of the Millers) was quote as saying that the Met "is the finest minor league park in the country, and there are not two in the majors that are better."

When it opened, Metropolitan Stadium had a capacity of 18,200. A huge three tier grandstand extended from behind homeplate to the first and third base dugouts. From the outfield, the three tier grandstand towered over the playing field. The press box was at the top of the upper deck, and huge lights stood above the rim of the upper deck. Not connected the lower level of seating, additional seats extended down both the first and third base lines. Trying to attract a franchise to the area, the seating capacity was raised to 21,000 in 1957. Also in the same year an exhibition game between the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds was played at Metropolitan Stadium. In 1958, the man who would eventually bring baseball to the area, Calvin Griffith, toured the area when his team, the Washington Senators, played an exhibition game at Metropolitan Stadium. Griffith liked the area and told the city that if he moved his team, they would be the first place on his list to move to. By 1960, the capacity at Metropolitan Stadium grew to 30,000. Wooden bleachers were added behind the left and right field outfield walls.

In 1961, when the Washington Senators moved in and became the Twins, permanent bleachers were added along the left field line, a temporary bleacher was installed in left field and the first and second decks were extended down the right field line. The Met had a grass field and relatively short power alleys (usually 360'-365'), but a deep centerfield until 1975.

The Minnesota Vikings (NFL) moved into Metropolitan Stadium in 1961. In 1965, in exchanged for a reduction in rent, the Vikings financed and built a double decked grandstand in left field. The capacity was now at 45,919. Metropolitan Stadium remained the same until it closed. In the late 1970's and early 1980's Metropolitan Stadium fell into disrepair. The Minnesota Twins and Vikings began wanting a new facility to play in. The Metrodome, a domed stadium, was built in downtown Minneapolis for both teams. The last game at Metropolitan Stadium was on September 30, 1981. In 1982, the Twins and Vikings moved into the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. Three years later, Metropolitan Stadium was demolished to make way for the Mall of America, which now occupies the site.

Metropolitan Stadium in the Snow

Memorable Moments from Metropolitan Stadium

September 2, 1958: Minneapolis approves a $9 million bond issue to expand Metropolitan Stadium to 41,000 seats. City alderman Byron Nelson predicts it is a "dead cinch" that Washington will move there.

April 12, 1965: In Minnesota, the Yankees drop their second straight 11th inning opener, as the Twins win 5-4. Twins starter Jim Kaat, stranded because of the ice and snow, is brought to Metropolitan Stadium by helicopter. Kaat is matched by Jim Bouton, who goes five innings, giving up two earned runs. Bob Allison's wind-blown fly ball in the 11th drops untouched for a three-base error by Hector Lopez, one of eight errors the two teams combine for. Cesar Tovar's 2-out single scores the winner off Pedro Ramos.

October 7, 1965: Jim Kaat gives Minnesota a 2-0 World Series lead by driving in two runs, defeating Sandy Koufax 5-1 at Metropolitan Stadium.

July 5, 1969: Minnesota regains the American League West lead behind the pitching of Jim Perry and a 13-1 rout of Oakland at Metropolitan Stadium.

August 24, 1981: In his first ML game, Kent Hrbek homers in the 12th inning to give the Twins a 3-2 win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The 21-year-old 1B grew up in Bloomington, MN, less than a mile from Metropolitan Stadium, and jumped directly to his hometown club from Class-A Visalia (California League), where he was hitting .380 with 27 home runs and 112 RBI.

September 30, 1981: In the last ML game at Minnesota's Metropolitan Stadium, Kansas City clinches at least a tie for the American League West 2nd-half title with a 5-2 win over the Twins. Next season, the Twins will play in the brand-new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.

Other Memorable Moments
  • All Star Game: 1965
  • Seven A.L. batting titles by Rod Carew
  • 520 foot homerun by Harmon Killebrew on June 3, 1967
World Series: 1965
World Series: 1965
Harmon Killebrew
Harmon Killebrew's 500th homerun
on August 10, 1971