Nicollet Park was home to the Minneapolis Millers from 1896 to 1955. This photo is from the final Sunday game, in September 1955, when the Millers were playing the Rochester Red Wings in the Junior World Series.
Compiled by Stew Thornley
Author of On to Nicollet: The Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers
The Minneapolis Millers were a minor-league baseball team that played prior to the arrival of the Twins in Minnesota. In 1884 the Millers began playing in the Northwestern League, which consisted of eight teams in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota, which, besides Minneapolis, was represented by teams in St. Paul, Stillwater, and, later in the season, Winona.
Through the remainder of the 19th century, the Millers played in a variety of different leagues. In 1902, they became charter members in a new league, the American Association. Over the 59 years the Millers played in the Association, they compiled the best won-lost record of all the teams in the league. The second-best record over that span belonged to the St. Paul Saints.
The ballparks of the Millers and Saints (Nicollet Park in Minneapolis and Lexington Park in St. Paul) were only seven miles apart. The teams had a great rivalry, highlighted by the holiday doubleheaders. On Decoration Day, fourth of July, and Labor Day, the teams played a morning-afternoon doubleheader with games at the two different parks.
A lot of great stars played with the Minneapolis Millers through their history. Seventeen members of the Baseball Hall of Fame once wore a Millers uniform (15 of them as players, 1 as manager, and 1 as coach). Here is a list of the Millers in the Hall of Fame (the players years with the Millers are in parentheses):
Roger Bresnahan (1898-99), Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945
Jimmy Collins (Player-manager 1909), Inducted in 1945
Rube Waddell (1911-13), Inducted in 1946
Urban (Red) Faber (1911), Inducted in 1964
Bill McKechnie (1921), Inducted in 1962
Zack Wheat (1928), Inducted in 1959
George Kelly (1930-31), Inducted in 1973
Ted Williams (1938), Inducted in 1966
Billy Herman (Player-manager 1948), Inducted in 1975
Ray Dandridge (1949-52), Inducted in 1987
Hoyt Wilhelm (1950-51), Inducted in 1985
Willie Mays (1951), Inducted in 1979
Monte Irvin (1955), Inducted in 1973
Orlando Cepeda (1957), Inducted in 1999
Carl Yastrzemski (1959-60), Inducted in 1989
Dave Bancroft (Manager 1933), Inducted in 1971
Jimmie Foxx (Coach 1958), Inducted in 1951
Note on Waddell and Yastrzemski: Official records will show Waddell with Minneapolis only in 1911 and 1912. Waddell also played with the Minneapolis team in the Northern League in 1913 although his record indicates only his service with the Virginia, Minnesota, team in the Northern League that year. Also, official records for Yastrzemski show him with the Millers only in 1960. This is because he was with Minneapolis in 1959 only during the playoffs, and post-season records in the minor leagues are normally not shown in a players career records.
Twin Cities Ballparks
Minnesotas First Major League Baseball Team
Minnesotas First Major League Baseball Game
The Beginning and End of Nicollet Park
Night Baseball in the Twin Cities
Millers Rivalry with St. Paul Saints
Protested Games Involving the Millers
Millers vs. Havana in 1959 Junior World Series
Milkees Press Home Page (for more Minnesota Sports History)
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