Nicollet Park

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Nicollet Park
Nicollet plaque 080713 B&W.JPG
Full name Nicollet Ballpark
Former names Wright Field (1896)
Location Minneapolis, Minnesota
Coordinates 44°56′51″N 93°16′43″W / 44.94750°N 93.27861°W / 44.94750; -93.27861Coordinates: 44°56′51″N 93°16′43″W / 44.94750°N 93.27861°W / 44.94750; -93.27861
Owner Minneapolis Millers (1896 to 1955)
Capacity 4000
Construction
Broke ground 1896
Built 1896
Renovated 1911
Expanded 1937
Closed 1955
Construction cost 4000

Nicollet Park is a former baseball ground located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The ground was home to the minor league Minneapolis Millers of the Western League and later American Association from 1896 to 1955. During its first season (1896) it was officially known as Wright Field, named for one of baseball's founding fathers, Harry Wright. The wood stadium was replaced by a steel and concrete stadium in 1912. Lights were installed in 1937.

The ballpark was on a small block bounded by Nicollet Avenue on the east, 31st Street on the south, Blaisdell Avenue on the west and Lake Street (or 30th Street) on the north in the present-day Lyndale neighborhood. Home plate was in the southwest corner. A small ticket office building with a Spanish-style roof stood outside the right field corner, at the Nicollet-31st intersection.

Joe Hauser hit 69 homers for the Millers in 1933. Ted Williams also made a bit of a splash here in 1938, on his way up to the major leagues, registering 43 round-trippers to lead the league. Willie Mays was enjoyed by the Minneapolis fans for only a month or so in 1951 before the parent club New York Giants rushed the young ballplayer to the big leagues.

Nicollet Park went out with a bang, as the Millers won the American Association championship tournament, and then went on to vie for the Junior World Series championship, facing the Rochester Red Wings of the International League. The series went the distance of 7 games, and the finale was a close-fought win for the Millers in what was also the final game at Nicollet Park. In 1956 the Millers moved to Metropolitan Stadium in the suburb of Bloomington.

The park also held early National Football League games as the Minneapolis Marines and Minneapolis Red Jackets played home games there during the 1920s. In 1944 the Minneapolis Millerettes of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League called Nicollet Park home. Nicollet Park was also the place that the cereal Wheaties was first advertised. Augsburg College's football team played their home games at Nicollet from 1946 to 1950. The New York Giants and Green Bay Packers played a preseason game on August 29 1948 at Nicollet Park.

The ballpark site's current occupants include a branch location of Wells Fargo Bank (formerly Norwest Bank). There is a plaque detailing the ballpark's history, near the drive-up window which is positioned near what was once the center field corner. A condominium building is on the north front of Lake Street with a Hennepin County Medical Center clinic.[1][2]

References[edit]

Additional sources[edit]

  • Baseball in Minnesota: The Definitive History, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2006, by Stew Thornley.
  • Before the Dome, Nodin Press, 1993, edited by David Anderson.
  • On to Nicollet: The Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers, Nodin Press, 1988, by Stew Thornley.
  • Ballparks of North America, McFarland & Company, 1989, by Michael Benson.
  • Green Cathedrals, SABR, 1986, and Addison-Wesley, 1992, by Phil Lowry.