Photo - Jonathan Daniel (Getty Images)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Continuing our countdown towards December 29th and the final day of the Metrodome, it's now time for the third and final installment of our Top 25 Metrodome Moments.
If for some crazy reason you missed yesterday's installment of moments 25-6 check it out by CLICKING HERE!
As we begin to say goodbye to our beloved Teflon bubble, let’s take a look back and remember some of the good moments (and a few of the bad).
The time has come. Let's reveal the top five most memorable Metrodome moments...
5. Minnesota Twins Win the 1987 World Series
After the Twins returned to Minneapolis after winning the ALCS (see moment #6), their series with the St. Louis Cardinals was set to kick off with game one taking place in the HHH Metrodome. With more than 60,000 fans on hand for game 1, the crowd noise within the Dome reached 110 decibels which was equivalent to that of a jet plane! Game one went the way of the Twins by a score of 10-1 behind Frank Viola who was originally supposed to be the best man in his brother's wedding on this night. Needless to say, Franky backed out of the wedding to start game 1 of the World Series!
It was Bert Blyleven on the mound for the Twins in game two and the result was much the same with the Twins winning 8-4 behind home runs from Tim Laudner and Randy Bush.
Up 2 games to none, the series moved to Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO where the Cardinals would even up the series with a 3-1 win in game three and a 7-2 victory in game 4. It wasn't until the Cardinals went up in the series with a 4-2 victory in game five that the Twins started to feel the pressure and get a little nervous before heading back to the Twin Cities.
Back within the confines of their beloved Metrodome, the Twins carried a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the sixth when the hometown Minnesota boy Kent Hrbek stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. Having struggled through the series up to that point, Hrbek launched a ball into the stratosphere and over the outfield wall for a grandslam effectively putting the game out of reach for the Cardinals and tying the series up at three games apiece heading towards game seven.
It was Franky "Sweet Music" Viola again for the Twins in game seven on an evening that was originally scheduled to host the Vikings/Broncos game at the Dome (the football game was rescheduled for the following night). As they did often that season, the Twins fell behind early only to wear down their opponent and retake the lead in the sixth inning. From there it was smooth sailing. With Jeff Reardon on the mound for the save, it was a slow rolling ground ball from the bat of Willie McGee that was hit to Gary Gaetti who put it on target to Hrbek at first for the final out!
It was the first World Series victory for the Minnesota Twins.
4. The Metrodome Roof Collapses
It was simply one of the greatest decisions in television history by a FOX producer who decided to set cameras up within the Metrodome and leave them rolling throughout the evening as a blizzard pounded the city of Minneapolis and compiled on top of the inflatable roof of the Dome. Early in the morning of December 12th the roof could take no more. With nearly 17 inches of snow accumulating atop the roof, the deflated Teflon roof of the Metrodome gave in and tore two gigantic holes allowing snow to pour into the building and crash down onto the field. The video captured by FOX's cameras (above) is simply amazing and could not be replicated if they tried.
With the Vikings scheduled to host the Giants on Sunday afternoon, the game was quickly rescheduled and relocated to be played at Ford Field in Detroit on the following Monday night. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the repairs to the roof, the Vikings next home game against the Chicago Bears was also relocated this time across town to TCF Bank Stadium, the home of the Golden Gophers. It would be the first outdoor football game within the state of Minnesota since 1981.
Both the Metrodome roof and field turf would need to be replaced racking up a total cost of more than $18 million in repairs.
On July 13th, 2011 the new roof was completed and the Dome was set to be re-inflated (see the video below). After the roof was raised broken seats, damaged turf and flooding was revealed strewn throughout the broken-down stadium. Final restorations were completed by the beginning of August 2011 allowing the Vikings to kickoff the 2011 season at home inside the new look Dome.
3. Oh My Heavens!
For many Minnesotans the 2009 Minnesota Vikings season will never be forgotten, and the magic was realized during a week three game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Prior to the season Vikings fans were witness to one of the biggest stories the NFL saw throughout the entire decade. Brett Favre, the long-time hero of the Green Bay Packers was being escorted by Brad Childress and a bevy of television helicopters to Eden Prairie, MN and the Vikings Winter Park practice facility to make his signing with the Vikings official. The acquisition had been rumored for weeks but was thought to have been a long-shot at best. As television cameras captured Favre sitting in the front seat of a black escalade driven by the team's head coach, that long-shot became a reality.
Heading into week three, the Vikings were sitting at 2-0 but the performance had been unimpressive from both Favre and the rest of his Minnesota teammates. The opponent, a 2-0 49ers squad, was favored by many to not only beat the Vikings in week three but was thought to have been on the cusp of becoming legitimate playoff and Super Bowl contenders.
It was a back and forth affair all afternoon but it was San Francisco sitting with a 24-20 lead with :12 left on the clock and the Vikings still 32-yards away from the endzone. Taking the snap from John Sullivan it was Brett Favre who fell back into a five-step drop before being flushed out of the pocket to the right side. Dodging a tackle, Favre stepped back up into his newly created pocket and delivered a bomb just before the 49ers defensive line caught up to him. As the ball sailed through the air seldom used Minnesota wide receiver Greg Lewis cut across the back boundary of the endzone. Leaping into the air with :02 left on the clock, Lewis came down with the ball and was able to fenagle two feet down in bounds giving the Vikings a last second victory and firmly supplanting Brett Favre into the folklore of Minnesota Vikings history.
Lewis would only go on to catch 7 more passes that season while Favre and the Vikings would roll to a 12-4 regular season record and the NFC Championship only to lose to the dirty, cheating New Orleans Saints and "Bounty-Gate."
2. And We'll See You Tomorrow Night!
Much like the 1987 World Series went for the Twins and the Cardinals, the 1991 World Series had gone the way of the home team throughout the first five games of the series leading up to game six played inside the Metrodome. The game will go down as one of the best in the history of the game featuring an especially phenomenal effort from the Twins star center fielder Kirby Puckett.
It was the bottom of the third inning when Ron Gant got a hold of a hanging pitch and drove it deep to left center. Sizing it up the whole way, Twins outfielder Kirby Puckett got under the ball and timed his jump up against the Plexiglas wall above the outfield wall. At the peak of his jump Puckett snagged the fly ball preventing Gant from extra bases and the Braves a sure fire run.
But Kirby wasn't done there. Tied at 3-3, the game would go into extra innings when Puckett would come up to the plate in the 11th inning. Puckett showed unusual patience watching the first three pitches zoom on by, but when Braves pitcher Charlie Leibrandt hung a changeup high in the zone, Puckett to a crack at it and blasted it over the left field fence and into the stands! The moment, so perfect in it's drama, brought about one of baseball's greatest phrases as television announced Jack Buck simply proclaimed, "and we'll see you, tomorrow night!"
1. Black Jack Morris Goes the Distance, Twins Win 1991 World Series
As if the pent up drama from Kirby Puckett's game six heroics wasn't enough, game seven of the 1991 World Series surpassed it and lands at the number one spot on my list of the "Top 25 Metrodome Moments."
With one win already under his belt, Twins ace and St. Paul, MN native Jack Morris took to the mound for game seven looking to lead the Twins to their second World Series victory in franchise history. But John Smoltz was on the mound for the Braves and he too brought his A-game.
The game would go scoreless through 7 innings when Smoltz would be replaced by Stanton for the Braves. But Morris trudged on for the Twins. An inning later, Stanton would be swapped out for Pena, but Morris stayed out there. It wasn't until the bottom of the 10th that the Twins would crack through for a run pushing them to World Series Victory over the Atlanta Braves.
While the championship was great, the manor in which it happened was unbelievable! Morris had pitched a 10-inning complete game for the Twins. It was 126 pitches with only 2 walks and 8 strikeouts that got the job done for Morris and the Twins were set to claim their second World Series championship in four years!
Thank you for taking a few days to wax nostalgic with me and remember some of the more lasting memories of our beloved Dome! As I mentioned on day one, the Dome may have been the worst but to me and my generation it was the Minnesota Twins, the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Gophers. It was a dump, but it was most certainly our dump!
We won't miss you Metrodome, but we'll also never forget you.
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN