Reporting David McCoy
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Last week on Rosen’s Sports Sunday, we brought you the first part of a special report on the search for the missing foul pole from old Metropolitan Stadium.
Here’s the conclusion of the story.
Let’s start by recapping what we told you last week. There are relics from old Metropolitan Stadium all over the state, but one of the ballpark’s most defining features — the left field foul pole — has gone mysteriously missing.
“Oh, do I ever wonder what happened to the other one,” Twins curator and historian Clyde Doepner said. “It’s just kind of like it disappeared.”
We traced its path to Normandale College in Bloomington, where both poles stood intact until the early 1990s.
“It was very exciting,” former Normandale coach Rob Fornasiere said. “Because obviously, it added a lot to our program at that time, made it unique.”
After Normandale canceled its athletic programs in 1996, the right field foul pole was cut in half and now serves as both poles at Haddox Field in Bloomington.
But the other one?
“It was laying in, as I remember, the weeds over there someplace [at Normandale],” former City of Bloomington parks department supervisor Mark Borgwardt said.
So we tried to find it. We waded into the weeds, hoping waders would deter any ticks, and that a metal detector would alert us if the weeds had hidden it.
After searching for some time, we took a break to see if we could find where the right field foul pole once stood.
We found a big, deep hole. No doubt, we found it. A pretty cool find, but we were still in search of our main target.
We combed the area, and found no sign of the massive foul pole. So the likely explanation is it probably just got disposed of and hauled away when they put in the parking lot.
But who knows. It could be out there somewhere.
We talked to more than 30 people during our search, which took more than seven weeks, and no one could answer that question.
Most people we talked to assumed it was disposed of when the pavement lot went in, but no one could say for sure.
So unfortunately, our search has hit a dead end. The mystery remains unsolved.
Right about now — or maybe it was a while ago — you might be asking: Why should I care what happened to an old foul pole?
But just think of the history it witnessed: three Twins MVPs, 246 Killebrew home runs, an All-Star Game, a Game 7 in a World Series.
So this is what remains. The right field foul pole still stands tall in Bloomington, even if it’s in two pieces.
Wherever the left field foul pole is, it holds quite a story. In 1977, with first place at stake against the White Sox, a fan who’d had a few too many climbed to the top of it during the fourth inning.
“They had to stop the game,” Doepner said. “And they got security. And you weren’t going to send somebody else up to drag him down, you had to talk him down.”
It only delayed what turned out to be a big day for Rod Carew. He had six RBIs and raised his average above .400. That was the year Carew won the MVP. And it was the same year (1977) that the Minnesota Legislature passed a stadium bill that spelled the beginning of the end for the Met. And its ill-fated foul pole.
But life goes on for the one that’s left. These days it might not be deciding a World Series Game 7 like its missing partner, but it does help us find a link to our past.
And now another stadium is about to be history. Like it’s older cousin, the Metrodome’s days are numbered. In fact, baseball has already said goodbye to the stadium.
Which makes me wonder…where did the Metrodome’s foul poles go?