Some Flagpole History
June 1, 2006 9:18 PM
Looking back at yesterday's entry, it occurred to me that I left the most important aspect of a great ballpark to just a brief mention at the end. The truth is that the most important part of a great baseball place is what happened there.
But you can't build history into a park, you can only evoke it. To a certain extent, I suppose, you can also transfer history as they did by moving home plate from the original Busch Stadium to Busch II in St. Louis. (I don't know if the same thing happened between Busch II and the new park. Anybody know?)
Moving the Metrodome home plate may make some sense since two World Series were won there. The pitching rubber has some significance, too. But beyond those, there's not much about the Metrodome that we might want to retain. In fact, I can't think of a darn thing.
Thinking back on Met Stadium, I suspect that home plate is long gone (Update: This is now confirmed). And so many people have seats tucked away in their garages (they write to tell me about it all the time) that it might be interesting to put together a Met section (a la Midway Stadium), but those seats weren't especially comfortable. Doesn't seem worth the work.
There is one interesting piece of the Met which may be available. The original flag pole was given to and still stands outside the Richfield American Legion located on Portland Avenue just south of the crosstown. B.W. McEvers, a visitor to my other site, told me the story of how they got the original flag pole from the Met:
Basically, the club manager and a couple of officers prevailed upon the person in charge of salvage to donate the pole to the club. The story goes that the guy already had a buyer but was persuaded that the pole should remain in the area and what better place than a local Vet's club. The pole was dragged (they waited for a lousy, snowy day) over to the post and set on blocks. One of the guys (Dan Mulroy of Mulroy's Body Shop) had an employee of his sandblast and paint the pole. Everything was donated as far as time and material. Another guy worked for L.H. Sowles Construction and arranged for the necessary crane, survey person to shoot the angle, etc. Everyone was pretty much astonished that these guy's were able to not only get the pole but get it properly installed. I suppose the salient point is that active and concerned members managed to get the old pole installed on Post property essentially for free.
(It's at) 6501 Portland. Flagpole is not hard to spot. It's a bit shorter than original because it had to be cut off at ground level and re-installed. I do not know if there is a plaque, there may well be.
This might make a nice connection to the past if the Twins could buy back the pole by replacing it with a new one free of charge (and maybe some tickets). I don't know the logistics of such a process, but it seems like something worth investigating.
A lot of the Met was made up of chain link fence and temporary seating (now resting quietly in a landfill in Eagan). The most distinctive portions were the colored panels on the outside of the grandstand and the gigantic light standards which hovered over the infield. Obviously, none of this need be located, but it does suggest some architectural elements which might evoke the past.
A footnote to the new location is that Minnesota's first professional teams played very nearby. Athletic Park was located on the block now occupied by Butler Square, just across I-394 from the new park. It might be nice to acknowledge this somehow.
As far as I know, there's simply nothing left anywhere of Griffith Stadium or American League Park (the original home of the Senators). Anything done to remember these places would probably have to be in the form of plaques or monuments. For example, did you know that there are three additional Hall-of-Famers who wear Washington Senators caps but are not recognized anywhere at the Metrodome? And did you know that those Senators - the forerunners of our Twins -- won the AL pennant three times, and the World Series once?
These seem like things which need to be remembered in the new park. I'll try to work up more information on them some other day.
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This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
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