So Minnesota: Baseball historian discusses long-gone Nicollet Park

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With the pandemic putting America’s pastime on hold, baseball fans can’t wait to watch games again at Target Field.

Long ago there was another ballpark in Minneapolis where many legends once played.

Opening on June 20, 1896, Nicollet Park became the home for the Minneapolis Millers, a top-flight minor league team.

"This was a small ballpark, but it was just the kind that you want from that classic ballpark period," Minnesota baseball historian Stew Thornley said.

With the neighborhood surrounding the ballpark at 31st Street Nicollet Avenue, homerun balls became a hazard for nearby businesses.

"The ball crashed through the plate glass window in Johnston’s Appliance and the burglar alarm went off," Thornley said.

Some greats of the game played at Nicollet Park, including Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Babe Ruth.

In 1955 the last game was played at Nicollet Park. A Wells Fargo bank now sits where the park once stood.

"A lot of people come by here to do their banking and just walk through and probably don’t think about it," Thornley said.

There’s a plaque honoring Nicollet Park in front of the Wells Fargo bank.