Minneapolis Millers

The Minneapolis Millers were an American professional minor league baseball team that played in Minneapolis, Minnesota, through 1960. In the 19th century a different Minneapolis Millers were part of the Western League. The team played first in Athletic Park and later Nicollet Park.

Nicollet plaque 080713 B&W
Nicollet Park, home of the Minneapolis Millers

The name Minneapolis Millers has been associated with a variety of professional minor league teams. The original Millers date back to 1884 when the Northwestern League was formed. This league failed and the Western League replaced it, absorbing some of the old teams. According to Stew Thornley, this team folded in 1891 due to financial problems. In 1894, another team calling itself the Millers was formed when Ban Johnson and Charles Comiskey revived the Western League in hopes of making it a second major league. The Millers continued to play in the Western League through 1900, when the name was changed to the American League to give it more of a national image. Following the 1900 season, several cities were abandoned for bigger markets in cities recently vacated by the National League, including Minneapolis. Some teams were transferred, as was the case of the Kansas City franchise to become the Washington Nationals (Senators). However, some of the teams were just left out in the dark. It is unclear which of these two paths the Millers took, but most evidence seems to point toward abandonment, not a transfer to Baltimore, especially given that no player for the 1900 Millers played for the 1901 Orioles.

Several teams went by the nickname Millers, but the most prominent of these was the team in the American Association from 1902 to 1960. The Millers won four Association pennants during the 1910–23 tenure of "Pongo Joe" Cantillon, then were managed from 1924–31 by another legend, Michael Joseph Kelley, one of the great figures of American Association history. Kelley operated the team as club president until 1946. Broadcaster Halsey Hall was the Millers' play-by-play man from 1933 until the club folded in 1960 to make way for the Minnesota Twins.

Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Carl Yastrzemski were among some future major leaguers who played for the Millers. The Millers won nine pennants in the Association during their fifty-nine years. They played their home games at Nicollet Park until 1955, the ballfeld being demolished the following year. That site, at 31st and Nicollet Avenue, is now the home of a Wells Fargo bank. In 1956 they moved into Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, until 1960.

They had a heated crosstown rivalry with the St. Paul Saints. The two clubs often played "streetcar double-headers" on holidays, playing one game in each city.

Over the years the Millers were participants in four Junior World Series; matchups between the champions of the American Association and the International League. In the 1932 championship, the team was defeated by the Newark Bears 4 games to 2. The Millers, under manager Bill Rigney, clinched the 1955 series against the Rochester Red Wings, 4 games to 3, in the final ball game played at Nicollet Park. In 1958, the Millers, with Gene Mauch as skipper, beat the Montreal Royals 4 games to 0. Their last appearance in this Series was in 1959, with Mauch as manager, when the Millers lost the series 4 games to 3 to the Havana Sugar Kings.

After the farm system era began, the Millers were top-level affiliates of the Boston Red Sox (1936–38; 1958–60) and New York Giants (1946–57). The Red Sox actually swapped ownership of their top farm club, the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, for the Millers in 1957, enabling the Giants to move to San Francisco.

The Millers ceased operations after the 1960 season with the arrival of the Minnesota Twins in 1961. The Red Sox affiliated with the Pacific Coast League's Seattle Rainiers for 1961. The Millers ended with an overall record of 4,800–4,365. Through the years, Millers pitchers threw seven no-hitters, and a Miller batter was the league-leader in home runs twenty-one times and RBIs nine times.

Minneapolis Millers
18841960
(1884, 18861891, 18941960)
Minneapolis
MinneapolisMillers(baseball)Logo
Cap insignia
Class-level
Previous
  • Triple-A (1946–1960)
  • Double-A (1908–1945)
  • A (1902–1907)
Minor league affiliations
LeagueAmerican Association (1902–1960)
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
Previous
Minor league titles
League titles 1896, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1915, 1932, 1935, 1955, 1958, 1959
Team data
Previous names
Minneapolis Millers
Previous parks

Notable players

Numerous famous baseball players, managers and coaches have appeared for the Minneapolis Millers as players at some point in their careers, these players include:

Hall of Fame alumni

Notable alumni

References

  • Before the Dome, Nodin Press, 1993, edited by David Anderson.
  • On to Nicollet: The Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers, Nodin Press, 1988, by Stew Thornley.
  • Ballparks of North America, McFarland & Company, 1989, by Michael Benson.
  • Green Cathedrals, SABR, 1986, and Addison-Wesley, 1992, by Phil Lowry.
  • Baseball-Reference.com providing information regarding team rosters and players by individual years
Preceded by
San Francisco Seals
Boston Red Sox
AAA affiliate

1958–1960
Succeeded by
Seattle Rainiers
Preceded by
Jersey City Giants
New York Giants
AAA affiliate

1946–1957
(With Jersey City Giants, 1946–1950)
(With Ottawa Giants, 1951)
Succeeded by
Phoenix Giants
Preceded by
San Diego Padres
Boston Red Sox
AAA affiliate

1937–1938
Succeeded by
Louisville Colonels
Bill Monbouquette

William Charles Monbouquette (August 11, 1936 – January 25, 2015) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) right-handed pitcher. He pitched for the Boston Red Sox (1958–65), Detroit Tigers (1966–67), New York Yankees (1967–68), and the San Francisco Giants (1968). He was an All-Star for three seasons of his 11-year major league career.

Bill Rigney

William Joseph Rigney (January 29, 1918 – February 20, 2001) was an American infielder and manager in Major League Baseball. A 26-year big-league veteran, Rigney played for the New York Giants from 1946 to 1953, then fashioned an 18-year career as a manager (1956–72; 1976) with the Giants, Los Angeles/California Angels and Minnesota Twins. The Bay Area native was the last manager of the Giants in New York City (1957), and their first in San Francisco (1958). Three years later, Rigney became the first manager in Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim franchise history.

Billy Herman

William Jennings Bryan Herman (July 7, 1909 – September 5, 1992) was an American second baseman and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB) during the 1930s and 1940s. Known for his stellar defense and consistent batting, Herman still holds many National League (NL) defensive records for second basemen and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.

Bubbles Hargrave

Eugene Franklin "Bubbles" Hargrave (July 15, 1892 – February 23, 1969) was an American catcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Yankees. He won the National League batting title in 1926 while playing for Cincinnati. He was nicknamed "Bubbles" because he stuttered when saying "B" sounds. Bubbles' younger brother, Pinky Hargrave, was also a major league catcher.

Frank Killen

Frank Bissell "Lefty" Killen (November 30, 1870 – December 3, 1939) was a professional baseball player. He was a left-handed pitcher over parts of ten seasons (1891–1900) with the Milwaukee Brewers, Washington Senators (NL), Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Beaneaters and Chicago Orphans.

In 1893, Killen posted a league-best 36 victories against 14 defeats. No left-hander in NL history has won as many games since then. He was the National League wins leader in 1893 and 1896 with Pittsburgh, leading the league in complete games and shutouts in 1896.

For his career, he compiled a 164–131 record in 321 appearances, with a 3.78 ERA and 725 strikeouts.

He was born and later died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the age of 69.

Gene Mauch

Gene William Mauch (November 18, 1925 – August 8, 2005), was an American professional baseball player and manager, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944, 1948), Pittsburgh Pirates (1947), Chicago Cubs (1948–1949), Boston Braves (1950–1951), St. Louis Cardinals (1952), and Boston Red Sox (1956–1957).

Mauch was best known for managing four teams from 1960 to 1987. He is by far the winningest manager to have never won a league pennant (breaking the record formerly held by Jimmy Dykes), three times coming within a single victory. Mauch managed the Philadelphia Phillies (1960–1968), Montreal Expos (1969–1975 — as their inaugural manager), Minnesota Twins (1976–1980), and California Angels (1981–1982, 1985–1987). His 1,902 career victories ranked 8th in MLB history, when he retired, and his 3,942 total games managed ranked 4th. Mauch gained a reputation for playing a distinctive "small ball" style, which emphasized defense, speed, and base-to-base tactics on offense, rather than power hitting.

George Mogridge

George Anthony Mogridge (February 18, 1889 – March 4, 1962) was an American baseball player.

Jesse Tannehill

Jesse Niles Tannehill (July 14, 1874 – September 22, 1956) was a dead-ball era left-handed pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Highlanders, Boston Red Sox, and the Washington Senators. Tannehill was among the best pitchers of his era and was one of the best-hitting pitchers of all time. In fact, Tannehill was such a good hitter that he was used in the outfield 87 times in his career.

Jimmy Collins

James Joseph Collins (January 16, 1870 – March 6, 1943) was an American professional baseball player. He played fourteen seasons in Major League Baseball. Collins was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.

Collins was especially regarded for his defense. He was best known for his ability to field a bunt—prior to his debut, it was the shortstop who fielded bunts down the third base line—and is regarded as a pioneer of the modern defensive play of a third baseman. As of 2012, he is second all-time in putouts by a third baseman behind Brooks Robinson. At the plate, Collins finished his career with 65 home runs, 1055 runs scored, 983 RBI and a .294 batting average.

Collins was also the first manager of the Boston Red Sox franchise, then known as the Boston Americans. He was the winning manager in the first-ever World Series, as Boston defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1903 World Series, five games to three.

Kirby Higbe

Walter Kirby Higbe (April 8, 1915 – May 6, 1985) was an American right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1937 to 1950. He was a two-time All-Star. He was born in and died in Columbia, South Carolina.

Minneapolis Millers (AHA)

The Minneapolis Millers were a minor league professional ice hockey team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the Minneapolis Arena. The Millers originated in the Central Hockey League as a semi-professional team for the 1925–26 season. The Millers, along with other CHL teams, moved to the American Hockey Association and played there from 1926 to 1931. The Millers then switched to a revived Central Hockey League based locally in Minnesota. After the CHL's demise, the Millers rejoined the AHA, where they played from 1935 to 1942. The team went on hiatus during World War II, and was revived in the United States Hockey League from 1945–50. Lyle Wright managed from Millers from 1928 to 1931, and from 1933 to 1950.

Minneapolis Millers (IHL)

The Minneapolis Millers were a minor league professional ice hockey team in the International Hockey League for four seasons from 1959 to 1963. The Millers played at the 5,500-seat Minneapolis Arena in Uptown, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Millers were created on December 3, 1959, upon the relocating of the Denver Mavericks franchise. The Mavericks had rivalry with the St. Paul Saints team, that continued with the relocation. The Millers were 1963 Turner Cup finalists.

Pete Donohue

Peter Joseph Donohue (November 5, 1900 in Athens, Texas – February 23, 1988 in Fort Worth, Texas) was a right-handed starting pitcher with a 12-year career from 1921 to 1932. He played for the Cincinnati Reds, New York Giants, both of the National League, and the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox of the American League. His interment was located at Fort Worth's Greenwood Memorial Park along with Tom Baker and Jackie Tavener.

Ray Dandridge

Raymond Emmitt Dandridge (August 31, 1913 – February 12, 1994), nicknamed "Hooks" and "Squat", was an American third baseman in baseball's Negro leagues. Dandridge excelled as a third baseman and he hit for a high batting average. By the time that Major League Baseball was racially integrated, Dandridge was considered too old to play. He worked as a major league scout after his playing career ended. In 1999, Dandridge was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and, late in his life, Dandridge was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Red Ehret

Philip Sydney "Red" Ehret (August 31, 1868 – July 28, 1940) was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1888 to 1898 for the Kansas City Cowboys, Louisville Colonels, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Browns, and Cincinnati Reds.

Rosy Ryan

Wilfred Patrick Dolan Ryan (March 15, 1898 in Worcester, Massachusetts – December 10, 1980 in Scottsdale, Arizona) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball. He pitched from 1919 to 1933, appearing in three consecutive World Series for the New York Giants from 1922 to 1924. He managed in the minor leagues from 1941 to 1942 and 1944 to 1945 and was later a minor league general manager. In 1961 he was presented with the King of Baseball award given by Minor League Baseball. He was the first relief pitcher to ever hit a home run in the postseason (in Game 3 of the 1924 World Series), a feat matched only by Travis Wood (in Game 2 of the 2016 NLDS) and Brandon Woodruff (in Game 1 of the 2018 NLCS).

Ryan attended College of the Holy Cross.

Sam Leever

Samuel Leever (December 23, 1871 – May 19, 1953), nicknamed "The Goshen Schoolmaster", was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. He spent his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Sherry Magee

Sherwood Robert "Sherry" Magee (August 6, 1884 – March 13, 1929) was an American left fielder in Major League Baseball. From 1904 through 1919, Magee played with the Philadelphia Phillies (1904–14), Boston Braves (1915–1917) and Cincinnati Reds (1917–1919). He batted and threw right-handed and in a 16-season career posted a .291 batting average with 83 home runs and 1,176 runs batted in through 2,087 games played.

Walt Wilmot

Walter Robert Wilmot (October 18, 1863 – February 1, 1929) was a professional baseball player. He played all or part of 10 seasons in Major League Baseball with the Washington Nationals (1888–89), Chicago Colts (1890-95) and New York Giants (1897–98), primarily as an outfielder. Listed at 5 ft 9 in, 165 lb., Wilmot was a switch-hitter and threw right-handed. He was born in Plover, Wisconsin.

While playing for the Nationals in 1889, Wilmot led the league with 19 triples and 139 games played. The following season, he tied with Oyster Burns and Mike Tiernan for the National League lead in home runs with 13, also a career-high. He also set a career best with 76 stolen bases while driving in 99 runs in 1890. On August 22, 1891, he became the first player in major league history to be walked 6 times in 1 game.

Wilmot's most productive season came in 1894, when he posted career-highs in batting average (.330), runs scored (134), hits (197), RBI (130), doubles (45) and extra-base hits (62) in 133 games.

Overall in his ten-season career, Wilmot was a .276 hitter with 58 home runs and 594 RBI in 962 games, including 727 runs, 152 doubles, 92 triples, 381 stolen bases and a .337 on-base percentage.

Wilmot died in Chicago, at the age of 65.

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