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An intercity rivalry

Minneapolis and St. Paul were rivals in semiprofessional or professional baseball for nearly 80 years.

Both cities fielded teams in the semiprofessional League Alliance in 1877. Professional baseball officially arrived in the Twin Cities in 1884, when both Minneapolis and St. Paul (and Stillwater) fielded teams in the Northwestern League.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul rivalry grew when both became charter members of the American Association in 1902. Over the next 58 years, the teams would play each other more than 1,300 times. One highlight of the rivalry was holiday doubleheaders — with one game played in each team's home park. Nicollet Park in Minneapolis and Lexington Park in St. Paul were separated by about 9 miles.

Bill O'Neal, a minor league baseball historian and author, wrote in his history of the American Association, "No sports rivalry was more bitterly contested over a longer period than the baseball competition between Minneapolis and St. Paul."

Joel Rippel