Nicollet Ball Park, 3048 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1896-1955)

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Nicollet Ball Park

Nicollet Ball Park, 1955
Flag raising ceremony on opening day at Nicollet Park, 1925
Address: 3048 Nicollet Avenue
Neighborhood/s: Whittier, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1896
Year razed: 1955
Major Alterations: 1913warning.png"1913" is not in the list of possible values (Intact, Some/mostly intact, Altered, Significant Alterations, Alterations more apparent than original) for this property.
Architect or source of design: Harry Wild Jones

Whittier Minneapolis Hennepin

Nicollet Ball Park, 3048 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1896-1955)
(44.94722,-93.277934warning.png"44.94722.-93.277934" is not a number. )

Baseball is America’s game, and from 1896 to 1955 it was Lake Street’s game, too. Crowds of people packed into Nicollet Ball Park to watch their beloved Millers take on – and usually beat – their American Association competition. During this time the city expanded, new peoples arrived from far off lands, and the country endured two world wars.

Yet through all of this the Millers remained a constant source of pride for the community. The Ball Park was a place where generations came together to root for the home team, sharing victory with them 4,800 times.

What’s in a Name?
Nicollet Park seems like a simple enough name, but there’s much more to it. When the Millers moved from their downtown stadium to Lake Street, they were moving to the edges of Minneapolis. In order to further reinforce the rustic appeal of the game, the new ball field was named “park” instead of “stadium,” which has urban overtones. The new stadium gave people a sense they were leaving the bustling urban environment when they took in a Millers game.

Hop On!
Fans, who came from all economic classes, chose numerous ways to get to games. Those with cars were able to drive and park on the streets surrounding the field, but for most fans the streetcars provided transportation. If you didn’t have a dime handy to pay for a ride on the streetcars, you could always try to hitchhike down the street with those who were driving, or walk, as most children did. They chose to use their dimes for admission, which could be purchased for two Wheaties box tops and a dime.

Pay Days
Twenty two times a year the Millers squared off with their hated rivals from across the river: the St. Paul Saints. Emotions ran high on these “Pay Days,” and there were countless skirmishes between players, managers, and fans, as well as accusations of cheating made by local newspapers. The most intense days were the three holiday doubleheaders, played on Decoration Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, when the fans would take in a morning game before hopping on a street car across the river for another tilt in the afternoon. The rivalry was only made more intense by the outstanding record of the two teams: the Millers were the best American Association team ever, and the Saints were a close second.

The End of an Era

After winning the 1955 Junior World Series, the Millers moved to a new ball park for the 1956 season: Metropolitan Stadium, then called Bloomington Park. The move of the Millers meant the end of crowds filling Nicollet Park, and later in that same championship year the stadium was torn down. The only reminder that exists today is a marker that was erected in 1983 to commemorate the place the Millers called home for nearly 60 years.


Memories and stories


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Right on Lake Street

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Related Links

Stew Thornley's Article on Nicollet Park
Stew Thornley's Article on The Beginning and Ending of Nicollet Park


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