History of Sports in Minneapolis
Sports in Minnesota include professional teams in all major sports, Olympic Games contenders and medalists, especially in the Winter Olympics, collegiate teams in major and small-school conferences and associations, and active amateur teams and individual sports. The State of Minnesota has six professional sports teams (MLB, NFL, NBA, WNBA, NHL and MLS), and the University of Minnesota is part of the oldest major college conference still running (the Big Ten).
Major Professional Sports
The Minnesota Twins are a Major League Baseball (MLB) team that moved to Minnesota in 1961 from Washington D.C., where they were known as the Washington Senators. The Twins played their home games at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington from 1961–1981 and the Metrodome in Minneapolis from 1982–2009, then moved to Target Field in 2010. They have been to the World Series in 1965, 1987, and 1991, winning in 1987 and 1991. In 2001, the Twins and the Montreal Expos were threatened with extinction in a contraction scheme of the Commissioner of Baseball. That effort was unsuccessful, and the next year the team made it to the ALCS. Notable current and former Twins include Kirby Puckett, Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, Paul Molitor, Johan Santana, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter, Joe Nathan, David Ortiz, and Kent Hrbek. At one time, there was a Major League Baseball team based out of Saint Paul called the Saints; the team has since moved to Chicago and are now the Chicago White Sox.
The current St. Paul Saints are an American Association team. The team was formerly of the Northern League. The team was founded in 1993 as an inaugural team in the league. They won the Northern League Championship in 1993, 1995, 1996, and in 2004. Notable current and former players include Kevin Millar, Darryl Strawberry, Jason Varitek, Jack Morris, and Ila Borders. The Saints play their home games at Midway Stadium in St. Paul and are not affiliated with Major League Baseball. They play in downtown St Paul at the brand new CHS Field.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are a National Basketball Association (NBA) team founded in 1989 and play their home games at Target Center in Minneapolis. The "Wolves", as they are called by fans, have yet to appear in an NBA Finals series but made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2004. In 2000, NBA officials ruled that the Wolves violated league rules when signing then free agent Joe Smith. They then declared the contract was henceforth invalid, fined the organization $3.5 million, and took the team's next 3 first round draft picks. Notable current and former players include Kevin Love, Jimmy Butler, Sam Cassell, Kevin Garnett, Ricky Rubio, Stephon Marbury, Latrell Sprewell, Terry Porter, Sam Mitchell, Wally Szczerbiak and Malik Sealy.
The Minnesota Lynx are a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team founded in 1999 and play their home games at Target Center in Minneapolis. The Lynx have won four WNBA Championships, doing so during the 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 seasons. In 2005, the Lynx drafted Seimone Augustus from LSU. She has become the center of the franchise, and has been the center of many WNBA ads. Other notable players include, Maya Moore, Lindsey Whalen, Sylvia Fowles, and Jenal McCarville.
The Minneapolis Lakers were an NBA team that was moved from Detroit, Michigan to Minneapolis in 1947. During their stay in Minneapolis, the Lakers won the 1947–48 National Basketball League (NBL) championship, then joined 4 other NBL teams in joining the Basketball Association of America (BAA), where they won the 1948–49 BAA championship. After the 1948–49 season, the NBL and the BAA merged to become the NBA. The Lakers then won 5 championships in 6 years, winning in 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, and 1954. They are considered to be the NBA's first "Dynasty". Notable players include George Mikan, Jim Pollard, Vern Mikkelsen, Slater Martin, Clyde Lovellette and Elgin Baylor. In 1960, the Lakers moved to Los Angeles, California, where they became the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Minnesota Vikings are a National Football League (NFL) team founded as an expansion team in 1961. The Vikings play their home games at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings have won one NFL Championship in 1969, a year before the AFL-NFL Merger. The Vikings were the first team to appear in four Super Bowls, but also lost all of them. Their last appearance in the Super Bowl was Super Bowl XI against the Oakland Raiders (who were coached by Austin native and TV commentator John Madden) in 1977. Notable current and former players include Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Jim Marshall, Ron Yary, Mick Tingelhoff, Paul Krause, Cris Carter, Carl Eller, Fran Tarkenton, Chuck Foreman, Randy Moss, Daunte Culpepper, Jim Kleinsasser, Brad Johnson, Alan Page, the Purple People Eaters, Adrian Peterson, Randall McDaniel, John Randle, and Brett Favre.
Before the Vikings, Minnesota also hosted the Minneapolis Marines/Red Jackets and the Duluth Kelleys/Eskimos. Three players who played for Duluth are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Duluth teams played at Athletic Park, while the Minneapolis teams played at Nicollet Park. In 2014 The Bemidji Axmen of Bemidji, Minnesota started play as an expansion team of the Indoor Football League
The Minnesota Vixen are a Women's Professional Football League founded in 1998. They have not appeared in the WPFL Championship. They are the oldest professional women's football team in the United States.
The Minnesota Wild are a National Hockey League (NHL) team founded in 2000 and play their home games at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Wild have not appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals. With their second draft pick in franchise history, the Wild Drafted Mikko Koivu, a player that currently holds the team's record total franchise points. The Wild made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2003, by beating the Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks both in 7 games after being down three to one in the series, before being swept by the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Notable players include Marian Gaborik, Mikko Koivu, Wes Walz, Darby Hendrickson, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Thomas Vanek and Jordan Leopold.
The Minnesota North Stars were an NHL team that was part of the 1967 NHL Expansion and played their home games at Met Center in Bloomington. They appeared in the 1981 and 1991Stanley Cup Finals, but did not win either one of them. In 1993, the North Stars moved to Dallas, where they became the Dallas Stars. Notable players include Harry Howell, John Mariucci, Gump Worsley, Neal Broten and Mike Modano.
The Minnesota Whitecaps are an all women's team that plays in the Western Women's Hockey League.
The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Eveleth, on the Iron Range.