Twins in-state trio sad to see Midway Stadium go

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 29, 2014 - 12:35 AM

The team’s three in-state players recalled it as a fun place. “It’s part of my childhood,” Joe Mauer said.

view larger photos


– When Joe Mauer was a young child, Midway Stadium loomed like a big-league ballpark in his imagination. When he got to high school, it became the site of some of his greatest achievements. And now that he’s in majors?

“It’s a place I’ll never forget. Midway was a big deal to us kids,” Mauer said Thursday, shortly before the St. Paul Saints played their final game in the stadium. “It’s part of my childhood. So it’s sad to hear it’s going away.”

Mauer grew up less than a mile down the street from the St. Paul ballpark, which opened one year before he was born, and it soon became a constant part of his life, like his personal home field. “It seemed like we were there all the time. Even when I was really young, I remember getting to be the batboy for my cousins’ Hill-Murray teams, things like that,” he said. “My brother Billy worked there on the grounds crew.”

When Joe Mauer got older, he served as batboy at Saints games, too, and even played high school football games in the stadium. “Early on, I watched my brothers play a lot of [high school] games there, and then I got to play, too. That’s where they used to play the high school tournament before Target Field” was built.

Those tournaments provided one of Mauer’s sweetest baseball memories. In 2001, the All-America catcher led Cretin-Derham Hall to the state finals, first by helping power a late rally against Bemidji in the semifinals, then by leading CDH to a 13-2 rout of Rochester Mayo in the championship game. Mauer’s favorite memory of Midway Stadium? Dog-piling in the infield after the final out.

“Funny enough, I caught the last out of the game at first base,” Mauer said, because the team wanted his backup, also a senior, to take part in the title game. “That was a great day. It was a fun place to play.”

That’s Caleb Thielbar’s dominant memory of the ballpark, too. The reliever spent three months playing in Midway Stadium after signing with the Saints in 2011, and his success in the American Association led him to a contract with the Twins.

The Randolph, Minn., product smiles at the notion of being nostalgic for Midway’s aging grandstand, which will be torn down next year once the Saints move to their new ballpark in Lowertown. “I don’t think anyone gets attached to Midway anymore. It’s pretty old,” Thielbar said. “They play football on it in the fall. There are a lot of hills in the outfield, a lot of divots in the grass. But the promotions and the fans are unbelievable there — that’s what makes a stadium, more than the actual playing surface.”

Thielbar turned his career around in the park, after being released by the Brewers organization in 2010, and remembers how much he enjoyed the rowdy atmosphere.

“They packed the place every single day. I mean, I had a great time playing there, it was awesome,” he said. “We had a good team that year, and they just made it a lot of fun. The stadium itself, well, it was a little rough, but the things going on there made it a great time.”

So did some things going on outside it, too. Glen Perkins only played a handful of games at Midway Stadium as an amateur, but the former Stillwater High School and Gophers pitcher recalls it well for what was beyond the outfield wall.

“The thing I remember most is the fire department setting buildings on fire to practice putting them out,” Perkins said.

“Not many stadiums can say they’ve got that.”

  • related content

  • St. Paul Saints, fans say farewell to Midway Stadium

    Friday August 29, 2014

    Though Thursday was the closing of one chapter, it was also the last step toward a new era with the opening next spring of the team’s new stadium in Lowertown.

  • Twins keep their cool, score big in 10th to stop four-game slide

    Friday August 29, 2014

    Bruce Chen allowed six runs in the 10th and the Twins left Kansas City with an 11-5 victory despite Alex Gordon’s best efforts to make it a Royals sweep.

  • Series preview: Twins at Baltimore

    Friday August 29, 2014

    twins at baltimore series previewFOUR-GAME SERIES AT camden yardsFriday, 6:05 p.m. • FSN, 96.3-FMRHP Trevor May (0-3, 8.79 ERA) vs....

  • Recap: Twins-Kansas City

    Friday August 29, 2014

    GAME RECAPIMPACT PLAYERJordan Schafer, TwinsThe ninth-place hitter provided four RBI — matching a career high — and raised his average...

  • In 2001, Joe Mauer (middle) helped Cretin-Derham Hall win a section and a state title at St. Paul’s Midway Stadium.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 93 4th Qtr 1:47
Denver 103
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 3 3rd Prd 9:14
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 4 3rd Prd
Edmonton 1
San Jose 3 2nd Prd 12:42
Vancouver 1
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 2nd Half 0:05
Florida 66
Kentucky 70 2nd Half 0:27
Georgia 64
West Virginia 57 2nd Half 0:41
Kansas 55
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 71 2nd OT 4:26
Northwestern 74
Villanova 65 2nd Half 2:48
Creighton 62
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which Twins player are you most interested in during spring training?

Weekly Question