2 March 1904: “a barrel of speed”

Minneapolis Journal - 2 March - Has Barrel of SpeedThe Millers Magnate announced the signing of pitcher Charles Case, formerly of the Rock Island team in the 3-I league, known as “an exceedingly speedy man.” Case apparently had a trial with the Cincinnati organization in 1901 “but was not quite good enough to stick with the exceptionally good bunch of twirlers who were with the reds that year.”

President Watkins is also making improvements over at Nicollet Baseball Park – the refreshment stand has been remodeled, the club offices enlarged, and the press box, also, enlarged to permit the newspapers to install private phones for baseball “extra editions.”

Which, perhaps, gives us an opportune moment to take a look at the location of Nicollet Park. The detailed version below is from a 1903 map of Minneapolis.

That’s East Lake Street at the top of the map, and Nicollet Avenue going down the right side of the ball park, with a streetcar line conveniently curving around the park.

map - nicollet ballpark - 1903 c fr

As you can see, the right field fence is also conveniently located, about, roughly, 279 feet and 10 inches from home plate, according to Stew Thornley’s nice article on the park, which you’ll find here.

The map below provides a broader overview of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, with a focus on the local streetcar lines in 1904. (Both maps were found on the University of Minnesota’s Borchert Map Library website. Nice to have a Map Library in town!) I’ve located Nicollet Park on the map at the intersection of the Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue lines, and Lexington Park, home of the rival Saint Paul Saints, is at the intersection of the Lexington Avenue and University Avenue lines. Occasionally the clubs would play street-car double-headers, with fans hopping on at one park after the early game and riding down to the opponents park for the closer. Those were the days. I wonder if we could get the Twins and the Saints could arrange such a set? (Never in a million years…) Too bad, it would be fun.

Minneapolis Streetcar Map 1904 d

If you want to know a LOT more about the Millers and Nicollet, Stew Thornley has written the book. It’s called On to Nicollet: the Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers. I’ve looked at this in the past, but now it’s probably time for me to sit down and read it. You might also want to take a look at Stew Thornley’s website: http://stewthornley.net/. Stew is a serious fan of baseball, and also libraries, cemeteries, and, well, life in general.

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