Minnesotas First Major League Baseball Game
By Stew Thornley
Author of On to Nicollet: The Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers
Although Minnesota was represented by a major league team as early as 1884, when St. Paul played nine games in the Union Association, local fans didnt get a chance to see the big show as all of the teams games were played on the road.
The firstand until the Minnesota Twins arrived, the onlyofficial major league game played in the state took place Friday, October 2, 1891 between Columbus and Milwaukee of the American Association, one of the last games played in the ten-year-old Association, which would fold at the end of the season.
The American Association was at war with the National League in 1891. Four AA teams replaced their baseball team uniforms to join the National League in the last four years. The current Cincinnati club in the Association, founded by Mike King Kelly in 1891 to replace the Reds, who had jumped to the National League a year earlier, was struggling. One of the smallest cities in the majors, Cincinnati could not support two teams, and on August 17 the franchise was transferred to Milwaukee.
Milwaukee was represented at that time by a team in the Western Association. Managed by Charlie Cushman, the Brewers were in first place, but the Western Association team disbanded when major league baseball came to its city. Cushman took over as manager and kept many of his old players for the incoming team. The departure of Milwaukee from the Western Association left Minneapolis in first place with a record of 52-44. The Millers had a chance to win their first pennant, but only a few days later the team, plagued by financial difficulties, also dropped out of the league.
Minneapolis was then without professional baseball of any kind. But in October Milwaukee transferred its final series of the season, against Columbus, to Athletic Park in Minneapolis because, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Having lost all prestige in their own towns the two teams sought to run up to Minneapolis and replenish their exchequers.
Rain prevented the first game October 1; the next day, despite a cold, raw wind and heavy clouds which threatened rain or snow, a good crowd turned out to see Milwaukee beat Columbus, 5-0. The Brewers Frank Red Killen, who had started the season with Minneapolis and had hurled a no-hitter for the Millers the year before, held the visitors scoreless on six hits.
Columbuss best scoring chance came in the third when Jack Crooks doubled and went to third on Tim ORourkess sacrifice, but was nailed at the plate trying to score on Charlie Duffees fly to Tom Letcher in right.
The Brewers got on the board in the fourth when Eddie Burke was hit by a pitch, took third on Jack Eastons wild pickoff attempt, and scored on a passed ball with two out. Milwaukee broke the game open in the fifth with four runs, getting four of their five hits that inning, including two doubles, a run-scoring single by Killen, and a two-run homer by Jack Carney. Burke scored the final run on another passed ball.
The two teams were scheduled for another game at Athletic Park the next day, but when cold weather prevented it they moved back to Milwaukee where the Brewers ended the season by beating Columbus, 8-4, on October 4.
The American Association and National League completed peace talks that winter with the Association disbanding and the National League absorbing four of its teams.
Both Milwaukee and Minneapolis had teams in the Western League the next year, but it would not be until 1961 that another regular-season, major league game would be played in Minnesota.
|Jack Crooks 2b||3||0||3||2||2||1|
|Tim ORourke 3b||4||0||0||1||1||0|
|Charlie Duffee ss||4||0||2||0||2||0|
|Larry Twitchell lf||3||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jim Donahue rf||4||0||0||3||0||0|
|Tom Dowse c||4||0||0||7||2||0|
|Mike Lehane 1b||4||0||1||10||1||1|
|Jack Easton p||3||0||0||0||2||1|
|Phil Knell cf||3||0||0||1||0||0|
|Eddie Burke cf||2||2||1||1||0||0|
|George Shoch ss||4||0||0||1||0||0|
|Jimmy Canavan 2b||4||0||0||2||3||1|
|Abner Dalrymple lf||4||0||0||1||0||0|
|Tom Letcher rf||4||1||0||2||1||0|
|Jack Carney 1b||3||1||2||13||0||0|
|Farmer Vaughn c||3||1||1||5||1||0|
|John Grim 3b||3||0||0||1||0||0|
|Frank Killen p||3||0||1||1||6||0|
|Columbus||000 000 000- 0 6 3||Milwaukee||000 140 000- 5 5 1|
Runs earnedMilwaukee 2. Two-base hitsBurke, Vaughn, Crooks. Home runsCarney. Double playLetcher to Vaughn. Base on ballsBy Killen 2. Hit by pitcherBurke 2. Struck outBy Killen 4, by Easton 7. Wild pitchesEaston 1. Passed ballsDowse 2. Time of game1:35. UmpireMcLaughlin.
Copyright 1988 Stew Thornley
Twin Cities Ballparks
Minneapolis Millers Yearly Standings
Minnesotas First Major League Baseball Team
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
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