Metropolitan Stadium, fondly known as “The Met” among baseball fans, was a hallmark of Minnesota’s sports culture. Serving as the original home for the Minnesota Twins and later the Minnesota Vikings, it holds a special place in the hearts of baseball enthusiasts in the Twin Cities and beyond.
Stadium Facts about Metropolitan Stadium
- Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
- Opened On: April 24, 1956
- Closed On: September 30, 1981
- Home Team: Minnesota Twins (American League)
- Stadium Nicknames: “The Met”
- Dimensions: Left Field – 343 feet, Center Field – 402 feet, Right Field – 330 feet
- Capacity: Initially around 18,200; expanded to over 48,000
- Attendance Record: Not available
- Surface: Grass
- Architect: Osborn Engineering
- Owner: City of Bloomington
Metropolitan Stadium was built in 1956 primarily for the Minneapolis Millers, a minor league baseball team. However, it gained major league status when the Washington Senators relocated to Minnesota and became the Twins in 1961. The stadium was the Twins’ home until the completion of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in 1981. Its closing marked the end of an era for open-air baseball in Minnesota.
Design and Features
The Met was known for its basic, yet functional design. As a multi-purpose stadium, it hosted both baseball and football games, featuring a large, open-air layout with uncovered seating. The ballpark’s dimensions were fairly symmetrical, providing a balanced playing field for hitters and pitchers alike. One of its unique features was a large scoreboard in right field, which became a prominent backdrop for many historic plays.
Throughout its history, Metropolitan Stadium underwent several renovations to improve fan experience and expand capacity. These included adding upper-deck seating, enlarging the outfield bleachers, and upgrading the stadium’s facilities to accommodate larger crowds and provide better amenities for fans and players.
The Met’s facilities, while not as advanced as those in modern stadiums, were adequate for the time. Concessions offered traditional ballpark fare, and the seating, though exposed to the elements, provided a classic baseball viewing experience. The stadium was known for its accessibility and ample parking, making it a popular venue for sports fans in the region.
Memorable Moments at Metropolitan Stadium
- First Twins Game: Hosting the Minnesota Twins’ first game after their move from Washington.
- 1965 World Series: The Met hosted the World Series, bringing national attention to Minnesota.
- Harmon Killebrew’s Legacy: The stadium was home to many of Killebrew’s home runs and standout moments.
- All-Star Game: Hosting the 1965 MLB All-Star Game.
- Final Game: An emotional farewell game in 1981 marked the end of two decades of Twins baseball at The Met.
Interesting Baseball History at Metropolitan Stadium
- Introduction of Major League Baseball to Minnesota: The Met played a pivotal role in bringing MLB to the Upper Midwest.
- Development of the Twins: The stadium witnessed the growth of the Twins as a competitive MLB team.
- Impact on Local Community: The Met fostered a strong baseball culture in Minnesota.
- Adaptation for Multi-Purpose Use: Reflecting the era’s trend of stadiums accommodating multiple sports.
Besides baseball, Metropolitan Stadium was also a multi-use facility that hosted various other events, most notably as the home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings until 1981. It was a venue for large concerts, other sports events, and community gatherings, showcasing its versatility beyond baseball. These diverse uses underscored the stadium’s significance in the broader cultural and sports history of Minnesota. The range of events held at Metropolitan Stadium illustrated its role as a multi-purpose venue in the region’s history.