Targeting a World Championship

Twins hoping to make history in new stadium

April 09, 2010
The Hall of Fame collections house a ticket from the first game at the original Yankee Stadium. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Cooperstown comes to Joe Mauer

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Only four teams in the history of Major League Baseball have won the World Series in the inaugural year of a new stadium, including the New York Yankees in 2009.

The Minnesota Twins hope to follow in Bronx Bombers’ footsteps in 2010, when they begin their first season at Target Field. But no matter how many games the Twins win this year, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will be there to document Minnesota’s historic season.

Almost thirty years have passed since the Minnesota Twins played an outdoor home game. When the team takes the field on Monday, April 12, for their home opener, fans will be watching big league baseball in the great outdoors in Minnesota for the first time since Sept. 30, 1981, when the Twins were beaten by the Royals 5-2 in the last game played at Metropolitan Stadium.

“An entire generation has never seen outdoor baseball in Minnesota,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said. “Fans are proving to us that they're more than ready for it.”

In 2009, the Yankees became the only team to win a World Series championship in two brand new stadiums when they christened the new Yankee Stadium with a world title. In 1923, Yankees opened Yankee Stadium on April 18 against the Boston Red Sox, the same opponent the Twins will be facing to open Target Field. New York began the season with a 4-1 win and ended the year as the 1923 World Champions.

The Hall of Fame’s collection houses tickets from both Yankee Stadium Opening Days and a pin from the 1923 opener – and a pin from the first-ever team to win the Series in the inaugural stadium: The 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates.

However, the Pirates held their 1909 home opener at their old stadium: Exposition Park. Pirates owner and 2008 Hall of Fame inductee Barney Dreyfuss then opened Forbes Field on June 30 of that year. The team, led by Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke, played in the first stadium built from concrete and steel.

“Forbes Field is so immense – so far beyond anything else in America in the way of a baseball park – that old experts, accustomed to judging crowds at a glance, were at a loss for reasonable figures,” the Pittsburgh Press reported.

Records show that first game at Forbes Field was seen by a standing-room only crowd of 30,338.

Two other teams have won World Series titles in the first season of a new stadium: The 1912 Red Sox in Fenway Park and the 2006 Cardinals in the new Busch Stadium.

“The Dome was very good to us and the people there treated us great. But this is the right way baseball should be in Minnesota,” said Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire. “The Twins deserve this and the people of Minnesota deserve to come to a ballpark like this.”

Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum