— Matt Nelson
Shopping and baseball. They don’t usually go together. However, a visit to the Mall of America provides both.
If you visit the mall you’re at the old site of Metropolitan Stadium. Met Stadium was home to the Minnesota Twins and Vikings from 1961-1981. It also hosted the Minneapolis Millers prior to the Twins arrival, and also the Minnesota Kicks soccer team.
Home plate is marked with a gold marker in the ground. That location is in a walkway in the NW section of the Mall of America’s theme park, “Nickelodeon Universe.” It is a little wierd to see roller coasters and think that Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew used to play here, but at least it’s safer than visiting many other lost ballpark sites which are now located in rough neighborhoods.
The other signficant marker that honors Metropolitan Stadium is a red seat mounted on a wall near the Log Chute. That seat marks where Harmon Killebrew hit the longest home run at Met Stadium on June 3, 1967. It’s estimated that the ball traveled 520 feet. Killebrew finished his career with 573 dingers!
— Matt Nelson
I never pass up an opportunity to find some baseball history when on a trip, be it a baseball related trip, or any other trip.
Recently I was heading to west-central Minnesota with The Mrs. (special thanks to her for humoring me and allowing me the 15 minutes to make this stop) and knew that we’d be passing through Rochester, Minnesota. At some point a couple of years ago I came across a mention of a famous baseball player that was buried in Rochester.
That player is Archibald Graham, better known as “Moonlight.” Graham’s career consisted of one game, and no at-bats (Click here to view his statistics at Retrosheet). The 104th anniversary of his big league appearance was 6.29.09 (the movie has the date wrong). Graham’s not the only player who has had this sort of brief major league career, but his was made famous by the book Shoeless Joe and subsequent classic movie Field of Dreams.
After his baseball career was over Graham worked as a doctor in Chisholm, Minnesota for many years where he had a significant impact on that community.
His gravesite is located in Rochester’s Calvary Cemetery. Thanks to the man mowing the grass there for pointing me in the right direction to find Moonlight’s gravesite. He is buried there with his wife Alecia (she’s also mentioned in the movie). On the day I visited, there were four quarters resting on the marker.
“Go the Distance:” If you want to visit the site start by looking at the entry on Find A Grave.
Googling “Rochester, Minnesota Calvary Cemetery” is not altogether helpful as Google Maps gives an innacurate location of the cemetery (which is obvious by looking at that location via the satellite layer of mapping).
Calvary Cemetery is located at 11th Ave NE and 5th St NE in Rochester, Minnesota. Moonlight is in Section 9, Plot 4, 1E. It is the SW part of the cemetery, not too far north of 5th St, look for the Section 9 sign.
— Matt Nelson
I was in Minnesota last week for a funeral and on the way back The Mrs. and I were spending the night in Bloomington. The next day we planned to do some shopping for the upcoming arrival of Baby Nelson.
After checking into the hotel I managed to watch innings 9-16 of the Twins Friday loss. Yes, I considered going down to Metrodome to catch some of the extra inning baseball. I realized I had a problem though. One, I had no ticket and they wouldn’t be selling them at that point. Two, the game could easily end before I made the 12ish minute trek downtown.
Saturday morning when we were checking out of the hotel I was wearing Twins gear and Front Desk Guy asked if I was going to the game that day. I responded (in a disappointed tone) by noting that we were just going shopping that day.
After visiting Ikea (the site where the old Met Center was) we were on the way into the Mall of America (the site where the old Met Stadium was) when The Mrs. made the mistake of noting she wasn’t in any real hurry. That mistake, plus the numerous other people clearly heading to Metrodome for the game (an easy trip from MOA to Dome via light rail these days) prompted me to play “Let’s Make a Deal” as I talked her into 5 innings of that afternoon’s Twins game (unless somebody had a no-hitter going).
Look at those lovely blue seats hidden behind the curtain.
Short story made long, I made what is likely my final trip to the Metrodome Saturday and saw 5 innings of what turned out to be a 4-3 Twins win. It was 2-0 Twins when we left. Francisco Liriano looked good and Cuddyer and Morneau whacked home runs while we were there. While we were driving home the Twins proceeded to give up the lead before regaining it. It was probably better for my stress level that we left when we did.
While the Metrodome was not a very good place to watch baseball, it was nice Saturday to be able to easily by $10 tickets 30 minutes before game time, and to not have to sit in the periodic afternoon rain showers that day.
I’ll miss the Metrodome’s a little bit having been to 51 baseball games there, but outdoor baseball at Target Field in 2010 will be very nice. April 12, 2010 v. Boston is the opener, now I just need to find a ticket!
Baby Nelson's 1st Twins Game (Sort of)