MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After 50 years of reporting on Minnesota sports, choosing four moments that stand above the rest wasn’t easy for Mark Rosen.
He’s interviewed his boyhood heroes — Sandy Koufax and Harmon Killebrew — watched as Ahmad Rashad made the Minnesota Vikings’ first “miracle” catch and had a front-row seat for Bud Grant’s 18 years as the Vikings’ head coach.
“There’s one clear-cut one,” Rosen said. “Friday, Feb. 20, 1980, Lake Placid, New York.”
The WCCO crew had been at the 1980 Olympics to cover all the Minnesota athletes that weren’t playing hockey that year. Rosen just happened to be at the USA-Soviet Union men’s medal-round game. He said he’ll never forget the last 30 seconds of that game.
“The electricity in the air was unlike anything I’d seen previously or since,” Rosen said. “My ears were almost bleeding from the noise level, it was pure passion that night.”
Had Rosen not been in Lake Placid in 1980, his number two moment would be many Minnesotans’ number one — the 1987 World Series Championship.
“I think what made that special for everyone here is that they really identified with this baseball team,” he said. “They were the loveable losers five years before that. They’d lost 102 games and basically that core group, led by Kirby Puckett, ended up winning the world series.”
Rosen’s third most memorable sports moment had happened two weeks earlier. He had been with the Twins when they returned to the Metrodome after beating the Detroit Tigers for the American League Championship.
“The garage door opened and all of the sudden, this whoosh of noise came out and you were looking around and the place was packed, literally to the rafters,” he said. “The Twins players were astonished, they had no idea this was going to happen.”
And for No. 4, Minnesota sports fans can fast forward four years when Jack Buck famously called, “We’ll see you tomorrow night!” after game six of the 1991 World Series.
“That moment, when Kirby said basically jump on my back, I’m going to win this thing,” he said. “I get goosebumps thinking about it, I mean it was so extraordinary.”
It was only to be followed up by St. Paul native Jack Morris pitching a 10-inning shutout in game seven.
“People look back on it now and say that was one of the best World Series games in history,” Rosen said. “And, we were fortunate enough to have it here.”