Chiefs victory ignites riots

Michael Bushnell
Publisher


Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota opened in 1956 as a replacement facility for the minor league Minneapolis Millers, who played in Nicolet Park. The first game was between The Millers and the Wichita Braves on April 24, 1956. The stadium had yet to be named at the time, but that was remedied in July 1956 when it was officially named Metropolitan Stadium.


It would not host a major league team until 1960 when Major League Baseball (MLB) approved the move of the Washington Senators to Bloomington where they would become the Minnesota Twins in 1961. They lost their first game to the new Washington Senators, now the Texas Rangers.


The Met would be home to the Twins and the National Football League (NFL) Vikings through 1981, when both teams moved to the Metrodome. The Twins played their final game there on Sept. 30, 1981, losing 5-2 to the Kansas City Royals on a cold, rainy afternoon. The night before that game, home plate was stolen. After the game fans flooded the field searching for “souvenirs” from the soon-to-be shuttered ball park.


The NFL Vikings played their last game in The Met on Dec. 20, 1981 against the Kansas City Chiefs. After losing to Kansas City, the fans began dismantling seats, pulling up pieces of sod and tearing down the goal posts. Nothing was safe during the melee, as even light bulbs and speakers were removed from the scoreboard. Multiple injuries were reported despite the fact the Vikings had tripled their security force for the game.


After sitting vacant and neglected for about three years, demolition was finally started to make way for the construction of Mall of America, which now occupies the site. A brass home plate bearing the dates 1956-1981 was installed in the floor signifying the location of the infield. Opposite home plate and exactly 520 feet away, a red stadium chair is mounted to the wall marking the exact spot where Twins great Harmon Killebrew smashed a home run blast to the upper deck in deep left-center field on June 3, 1967. It was the longest home run hit by Killebrew and the longest in Metropolitan Stadium.

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