By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Rosie grew up watching ‘CCO, interned here, landed a job and stayed. He’s described his view of the Minnesota sports scene as “The Best Seat in the House.”

In some respects, it all makes sense. Mark Rosen was drawn to television and sports at an early age.

He was at Met Stadium in 1965 when the Twins made their first World Series appearance, and in his St. Louis Park High School yearbook, classmates predicted he would have a future in broadcasting. That’s when he started his apprenticeship at WCCO-TV.

WCCO was the king of the news game, with a heavy emphasis on sports. Hal Scott showed Mark some of the ropes.

Early in his time at WCCO, he met his wife, Denise, a graphic artist and Chicago White Sox fan. They later had a son, Nick, and a daughter, Chloe.

The Twin Cities were growing as a sports market nationally, and Mark Rosen was growing as a part of the WCCO sports team.

That’s why his story is magical – he lived it with the teams that he grew up with, and the 1970s were a period of progress, a full complement of sports in Minnesota.

The Vikings had become king of the town – a place they have never relinquished, and Mark poured a couple years of his career into commutes to Mankato training camp until last season.

But it was the Vikings that people wanted most. Mark fed the appetite by taking over Sunday nights in the fall with the Rashad-Rosen report, then later with the Bud Grant show. At the time, it was the only place you could get a same-day recap.

What came out of the fall show was a quest for more, so was created Rosen’s Sports Sunday, a production that spoke to the magnitude of major league.

Mark had grown up cheering for people like Harmon Killebrew, and he grew fond of a pretty good hitter named Rod Carew, even visiting him when he moved on to the California Angels.

He would cover Hall of Fame inductions, including for the man who took the Twins where they had never been.

Ah yes, those two seasons that stand above all others in Mark’s career – when Minnesota went on the national stage, winning a World Series in 1987 and again in 1991.a

And he even got to meet and interview a boyhood hero from the other team, Sandy Koufax, at the 1985 all-star game.

Mark was there when Minnesota was introduced to a new team, when the NBA arrived and changed our winter months.

And he was there when a league returned to town and the Minnesota Wild set up offices in St Paul.

He never got to see the Gopher football team play in a Rose Bowl, but he was there for the 1997 basketball run to the Final Four and the Gopher women’s’ team run to the Final Four in New Orleans.

Rosen was there for the Lynx dominance in the WNBA, and he was there for the major golf tournaments that came through, including the Ryder Cup.

He even went fishing on the WCCO rooftop during last year’s Super Bowl week.

He was part of a WCCO staple in the 1980s when the station took the state high school hockey tournament to a new level, and Mark and Ralph Jon Fritz were there to take viewers on the ride.

He was in on the unforgettable – the 1980 Miracle on Ice in Lake Placid and later with the women’s’ hockey team when they struck Olympic gold.

Yes, he’s seen the world in the last 50 years and done it with a press pass, a microphone and a camera, where he gave Minnesota sports fans a peak into their passion, doing it with an affable, conversational style that made you realize he is one of us.

Long before he said so long to WCCO-TV, he got a piece of Minnesota’s Cooperstown for broadcasters and was inducted into the Hall of Fame – a fitting award, but not what he will remember.

It will be the people and events that made Mark’s career so significant for him and his faithful audience.

Mike Max

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