Music - Achilles last stand by Led Zeppelin
Photographed in 1987 using film.
Disclaimer - All but two of these photos are not mine, they were found on the internet and ARE NOT FOR SALE. My two photos have a purple watermark on them.
Metropolitan Stadium "the Met" - Opened in 1956, closed in 1981 and finally demolished in 1985. The site is now the Mall of America.
Location - 8000 Cedar Ave. South Bloomington, Minnesota.
Disclaimer - Unfortunately, I never saw a game at the old Met. I only saw the vacant lot where the stadium stood. Photos two, and three are mine as is the last photo on here. The rest were found on the Internet, along with postcards I have.
Chances are if you think of old Metropolitan stadium in Bloomington, two things come to mind. One would be the Minnesota Vikings playing football in a freezer. The other would probably be of an unassuming man who wore the number 3 for the Minnesota Twins, Harmon Killebrew. The "killer" was and still is a very gentle man, but his home runs were legendary. Titanic blasts that rattled around many an upper deck of American league stadiums. Home runs were not the only thing at the "Met." Footballs also filled the chilled fall skies. From 1961 till 1981, both the Vikings and Twins shared home field at the Met.
Located at 8000 Cedar Avenue south in the suburb of Bloomington, the Met was about 10 miles south of downtown Minneapolis. The stadium opened on April 24, 1956, as the home to the Minneapolis Millers of the old American Association. The new stadium replaced dilapidated Nicollet Park in Minneapolis, and was built to major league specifications. The new stadium was built in the middle of a 161 acre plot of land located in of all things, a cornfield. The excess land surrounding the stadium was built for parking. Ten years later, the Met sports center would be built to the north of Metropolitan stadium. Thus the area would be known as the Metropolitan sports complex.
The Minnesota Twins were born in 1961, BUT were not an expansion team. The original Washington Senators relocated to Minnesota in 1961 and the new expansion Washington Senators were launched that same year. Coming to the upper Midwest was the aforementioned Harmon Killebrew. He would soon become a fan favorite. The Twins opened the Met for professional baseball on April 21, 1961. Oddly enough, their first opponent was.....the new Washington Senators. A chilled crowd of 24,604 came out to see the game. They left disappointed however, as the Senators won 5-3. The Senators Dale Long had the honor of hitting the first home run in the new park. He connected off the Twins Camilo Pascual in the first inning. The Twins first home run happened in the second inning as first baseman Don Mincher connected off the Senators Joe McClain. The Twins would gain their first ever victory in the new park the next night, as they defeated the same Senators 5-4. Bill Pleis got the Twins first win. Over the course of the first four years in the stadium, the Twins got better and better. As the old Senators, they were just God awful, but being reborn in the upper Midwest gave the Twins new life. The year 1965 was a great season for the Twins. The stadium hosted the major league all star game in July, as the national league beat the American league 6-5. More good fortune would happen at the Met in October of 1965, as the Twins got into their first ever world series. The opponents were the Los Angeles Dodgers, with that vaunted pitching twosome of Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax. The series came down to a game seven at the Met, as the Twins Jim Kaat faced Sandy Koufax. As Johnny Roseboro tells the story, Koufax arm hurt so much, he couldn't throw his devastating curve. The Twins knew this, but Koufax pitched on, throwing 98% fastballs. As Harmon Killebrew said, "We knew he was hurting, and what was coming AND WE STILL couldn't hit it." Koufax threw a 2 hitter as the Dodgers won 2-0 to win the World Series. This would be the only World Series played at the Met. The Twins would make the playoffs in 1969 and 1970, but would not advance to the world series until 1987. By then they were playing in the Metrodome. Near the end of the Twins stay at the Met, things were going bad at the park. The upper deck in left was condemned, and basically the park was very poorly maintained and falling apart. The end for the Twins at the Met came on September 30, 1981. They lost to the Kansas City Royals 5-2 as 15,900 fans said good-bye. The final home run was hit by the Twins Pete Mackanin in the loss. Larry Gura, who gave up the last home run, got the win for the Royals in the finale. The last Twins victory came on September 27th against the Texas Rangers. The Twins won 5-2 as Pete Redfern got credit for the victory. Thus the end came to Twins baseball at the Met. No longer would the likes of Bob Allison, Rod Carew, Dean Chance, Tony Oliva and Harmon Killebrew play on the green carpet.
The Met was a busy place in 1961 as the NFL expanded to the Twin Cities. The Minnesota Vikings came to be, as did the Twins in 1961. Unlike their baseball cousins, the Vikings were a true expansion team. They were a rag tag bunch and played their first home game on September 17, 1961, against the Chicago Bears. Unlike the Twins, the Vikings were winners in their debut. They beat the Bears 37-13 and were off and running. Unfortunately, the season was not as good as the first game. They limped home with a very dismal 3-11 record and a last place finish. Things would turn for the good later in the decade, as they built the famous purple people eaters defense. In 1969 they had the best record in the NFL and defeated the Cleveland Browns 27-7 at the Met. The Vikings went on to Super Bowl IV against the Kansas City Chiefs. Heavily favored, the Vikings came home losers. During the 70's the Vikings made 3 other trips to the Super Bowl, and like the first trip, they came home with losses. Their last season at the Met was also in 1981. The curtain came down for them on a cold December 20th as they lost their last game to the Kansas City Chiefs by the score of 10-6. The next season would see the Vikings move into the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.
The Vikings had a decided advantage at the Met, much like the Green Bay Packers have at Lambeau field. Most teams HATED coming to the Met late in the season. Temperatures could be below freezing and even below 0. The Vikings took full advantage of this, and had a great home record late in NFL seasons. But the stadium had flaws, and was not up to NFL standards for seating. The snowy fields that Fran Tarkenton, Carl Eller, Alan Page and Jim Marshall ran on was silent forever.
The Met sat abandoned after the 1981 season. It was not used and maintained at all. Finally, on January 28, 1985, demolition of the old yard started. It took 4 months to dismantle the home of Killebrew, Carew, Tarkenton and Page. The lot sat vacant for seven years before construction began on what is now the Mall of America. Appropriately, the South Street of the mall was named Killebrew Drive.
The last piece of the Met left standing. The old marquee. 3/87
My view of the Met site. You can see the old Met center arena in the background. 3/87
Opening day 1963 in Minnesota. Same sign as the one in the previous shot that I took.
A great aerial shot of the Met and the Met sports center to the left. The Met sports center (now also demolished) was the onetime home to the NHL Minnesota North Stars.
Another great shot of both venues.
The Met sports center under construction and the Met in the background.
The "Met" in Bloomington Minnesota. About 10 miles south of Downtown Minneapolis. From internet.
An aerial view of the Met site today. The mall of America sits right on top of where the old Met stood. From internet.
Seating diagram of the old Met. From internet.
Groundbreaking for the Met. Photo from internet.
YES that is Ed Sullivan in the picture to the right.
The Met in the midst of being built.
The stadium in its early days.
The stadium is almost ready.
From the air, the Met looks half finished with the bleachers down the third base line.
You can see at the top of the picture, the Met center arena and how close it was to the Met stadium.
A stadium in a vast sea of a parking lot.
A Twins game in the 70's. You can see NO one is sitting in the upper deck.
The multi colored "skin" of the old Met.
Another view of both the Met and the Met center arena.
The famous TWINS etched behind home plate.
From left to right are Sam Mele the manager of the Twins, Calvin Griffith the owner, Commissioner Giles, Senator Hubert Humphrey and Dodgers manager Walter Alston. Photo from internet.
Baseball commissioner Warren Giles at the 1965 World Series. It would be his last one as commissioner. Photo from internet.
The 1965 world series, with Mudcat Grant hitting and Johnny Roseboro behind the plate.
Sandy Koufax at the 1965 World Series. A true story about him. His arm hurt SOO much during the series, all he could do was throw his fastball. Harmon Killebrew said "we knew what was coming and STILL couldn't hit him."
The greatest Twin of all time, hall of famer Harmon Killebrew. Photo from internet.
The Met in the football configuration for the Vikings.
Baseball being played in an abandoned parking lot at the Met.
Rod Carew at the plate with Twins catcher George Mitterwald on deck.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach stands with Cowboys coach Tom Landry on the field of the Met.
Where the Killer deposited one of his bombs.
The "killer" strikes a home run pose. Photo from internet.
Tony Oliva at the Met. Photo from internet.
The visitors dugout on the third base side.
The Met in the dead of winter.
A good aerial view of the Met and the Met center at the top of the picture. Photo from internet.
The beginning of the end for the Met. Left abandoned and rotting away in the harsh upper midwest winters. Photo from internet.
Circa 1982? Abandoned and waiting for the inevitable wreckers ball. Dead grass now sits where Tony Oliva once roamed.
The massive scoreboard in right with the bullpen dugout below it. The scoreboard has been stripped of anything worth stealing.
Broken seats litter the warning track surrounding the dead grass. The faint outline of the infield is still visible.
Ticket booths now sit abandoned. No longer selling seats to any games.
The longines clock above the scoreboard says 3:39. God knows how long it has stayed that way.
The massive parking lot and ticket booths sit empty.
The mess that was the right field area. I believe the door to the left led to the locker rooms.
Pretty much left for dead, the old park awaits its fate.
The left field bleachers are a skeleton of what they used to be.
You can see the vandalism in the seating bowl.
The clock hasn't changed since the park closed.
The ring around home plate that said TWINS.
The rusted remains of the left field bleachers, soon to be gone.
The first base dugout area, and a sign from the concession stands.
The erector set of the massive left field bleachers sit waiting for demolition.
The back of the huge right field scoreboard, complete with weeds.
The fence has been ripped down and the bleachers are rotting in the Minnesota weather.
At a glance, the field looks somewhat playable, BUT this is not what it seems.
From the left field bleachers, you can see the third base bleachers in disrepair, and the skeleton of the stadium.
The centerfield hitters background is still black.
The visitors dugout with broken seats in front of it.
Looking towards home plate from inside the right field scoreboard.
An eerie sight of a broken chair as you peer down the first base line toward the Twins dugout.
The bullpen dugout now sits without a roof. Weeds grow where once pitchers warmed up. The skelatel remains of the scoreboard are in view.
A ghostly ramp leads to the upper deck in left field.
More debris from the old stadium.
The entrance to the left field bleachers.
The graffiti didn't help save the Met.
The door to the Twins team offices, oblivious to the impending demolition.
What is left of the visitors dugout and left field bleachers. date unknown
Looking down the first base line and the Twins dugout. The old football pressbox is at the top of the upper deck.
Another view of the mammoth scoreboard.
A tunnel leads from the concourse to behind home plate.
One last look at the final days of the old Met.
Soon, this will be a vacant lot.
An overhead shot of the mall of America. Now instead of home runs, people scramble for clothes. Photo from internet.
Metropolitan stadium site before the construction of the Mall of America. 3/87