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Lions running back Barry Sanders looked for room against the Vikings in September 1996.

TOM OLMSCHEID • Associated Press,

49ers great Jerry Rice talked with Randall Cunningham after a game in 1999.

JUDY GRIESEDIECK • Star Tribune file,

Mariano Rivera offered his familiar fist pump after retiring Nick Punto for the final out of a 12-inning Yankees victory over the Twins in 2008.

File by DAVID JOLES • djoles@startribune.com,

Some 20,000 soccer fans showed up to greet David Beckham when he played at the Metrodome with the Los Angeles Galaxy in November 2007.

File by DAVID BREWSTER • dbrewster@startribune.com,

Passing through: 10 great visitors

  • December 28, 2013 - 8:49 AM

A look at 10 of the best opposing athletes to compete in the Metrodome.

Who knew? The NBA’s third-highest career scorer had 45 points in the first regular-season NBA game at the Metrodome in the Bulls’ 96-84 victory over the Timberwolves on Nov. 8, 1989. Jordan and teammate Scottie Pippen are two of 15 players on the NBA’s 50th anniversary team to appear at the Dome in the 1989-90 season, joining Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Kevin McHale, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, David Robinson, Isiah Thomas and James Worthy.

 

JERRY RICE

The NFL’s career receiving leader made his professional debut in the Metrodome on Sept. 8, 1985. He caught four passes for 67 yards from Joe Montana. Nineteen years later Rice played his second-to-last game of a Hall of Fame career at the Dome with the Seahawks, catching five passes for 52 yards from a quarterback — Matt Hasselbeck — who was 9 years old when Rice first drew an NFL paycheck.

 

DAVID BECKHAM

More than 20,000 soccer-crazed fans gathered at the Metrodome in November 2007 to see international star David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy play the Minnesota Thunder. The English World Cup veteran was an instant hit and gave fans what they paid to see when he bent a free kick to a teammate for the game’s first goal.

 

LAWRENCE TAYLOR

LT padded his unanimous NFL MVP stats in 1986 when the Giants came to the Dome for a pre-Thanksgiving tilt with the Vikings. Taylor recorded two sacks in the 22-20 victory, part of Taylor’s 20.5-sack season that helped the Giants win Super Bowl XXI.

 

DAN MARINO

Marino only played one game in the Dome during his stellar career but he made it count, even if the Dolphins didn’t pull out the victory. After the Vikings jumped out to a 28-0 lead in Week 4 of the 1994 season Marino passed for three consecutive touchdowns. Marino finished 29 of 54 for 431 yards, the second-to-last 400-yard passing game of his career.

 

BARRY SANDERS

His career might have stopped short of its potential but Sanders did some damage at the Dome. He ran for 220 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in a 34-14 romp over the Vikings in Detroit’s breakout 1991 season. Six years later, Sanders’ best as a pro, he ran for 138 yards in Week 15, putting him 131 yards shy of 2,000. He eclipsed the mark in the Lions’ season finale.

 

MARIANO RIVERA

The man who did so much with one pitch had it working in his 22 Metrodome appearances. Rivera picked up a save for the Yankees in 14 of those games, posting a 1.30 ERA and striking out 27 batters in 27⅔ innings pitched. He served up only one home run at the Dome, a three-run shot to right by Delmon Young on an 0-2 pitch in 2008. Rivera hadn’t pitched in 13 days.

 

REGGIE JACKSON

Mr. October was Mr. April at the Dome in 1983. In town with the Angels for a three-game series, Jackson hit one home run in each game. Historically, none was better than the middle game of the set when Jackson, Doug DeCinces and Bob Boone all went yard in the same game. Three years later Jackson hit two more home runs at the Dome off — who else? — Bert Blyleven.

 

ROGER CLEMENS

Roger Clemens’ second career start was in the Metrodome. The wiry Rocket gave up four runs in seven innings on May 20, 1984, including the first of 363 career home runs allowed: a solo round-tripper to Tom Brunansky in the bottom of the sixth. Clemens still picked up victory No. 1 that Sunday afternoon. The rest is history.

 

PETE ROSE

Though he never appeared in an official game here, MLB’s hit king left his mark on the Dome. Rose picked up the first-ever hit under the Teflon roof in an exhibition on April 3, 1982. He also appeared for the National League in the 1985 All-Star Game, as a pinch hitter for Fernando Valenzuela. He grounded out to second on the fourth pitch he saw.

BRIAN STENSAAS



 

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