In 1960, Minor League Baseball thrived in Minnesota – but it was the development of the brand new Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington that officially made the state “big league.”

 

With spectator stands often stuffed to the gills, the Met become the official “home” of the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Vikings.

Snowy football stadium
Snowy Vikings game at Met Stadium; Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

But today? The Met is no more. When the NFL declared that stadiums had to seat at least 50,000 people in order to meet the league’s needs, the Met – which could hold little more than 47,000 sports fans – became obsolete almost overnight. The Vikings played their last game at the stadium on December 20, 1981 – which they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs – and in the final moments of the game, spectators engaged in a feverish effort to strip souvenirs from the site, dismantling seats and stripping sod as thousands stormed the field. Ultimately, the Met sat empty for three years, becoming a beacon to vandalization, before it was finally demolished in January 1985. But in 1992, the highly anticipated Mall of America – the 12th largest in the world – opened its doors to shoppers on the site of the Metropolitan Stadium.

Inside the bustling Nickelodeon Universe, history buffs will find a brass plaque embedded in the floor of the amusement park’s northwest corner, which marks the location of the Met’s home plate. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Baseball plaque and red chair in an amusement park
Left: Home plate plaque at MOA; Photo credit: Jonathunder. Right: Harmon Killebrew’s red bleacher seat marking where his historic home run was hit; Photo credit: Baseball Bugs.

Above the Log Flume ride and opposite the home plate plaque, a red stadium seat is pinned to the wall, marking the precise landing spot of Harmon Killebrew’s 520-foot homerun hit – the longest in Met Stadium history.

Minnesota Experience’s Becoming Big League explores a flurry of stories that helped put Minnesota on the sports map during one of the most important years in local athletics history: 1960. The documentary premieres on Monday, October 14 at 9 pm on TPT2.

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This story and Minnesota Experience are made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.

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