La Velle E. Neal III's Sunday Insider: Three decades have passed since Dome ball disappeared

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 4, 2014 - 12:04 AM

Dave Kingman's ball went up, and never came down, on May 4, 1984.

Twins third baseman John Castino, left, and shortstop Houston Jimenez waited for — and worried about — the pop-up off the bat of Oakland’s Dave Kingman that never came down from the Metrodome roof.

Photo: File by JIM MONE • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Even now, a player will hit a sky-high pop-up at Target Field, and Kent Hrbek will think, “That would have hit the roof of the Dome.”

And that’s because it happened.

It was 30 years ago Sunday when one of quirkiest moments in Metrodome history occurred. Oakland’s Dave Kingman — one of baseball’s all-time feast-or-famine hackers — hit a pop-up off lefthander Frank Viola that was so high that it went through a hole in the roof of the Dome and never came down.

Hrbek was out because of an injury but watched as his replacement, Mickey Hatcher, and other Twins players looked up at the Teflon roof in befuddlement.

“Literally, we had lost the ball,” Hrbek said.

The Dome was known for its quirks. There was a blind spot down the left-field line, so outfielders had to keep running until they picked up the ball again. Home runs were thwarted by the baggie in right. And plenty of pop flies clanged off the speakers that were attached to the roof. The most famous speaker-ball was in 2000, when the Angels’ Mo Vaughn thought he had hit a long two-run homer, only to see the ball hit a speaker and carom to the field for a no-run single.

Many felt it was a matter of time before a ball would disappear into one of the holes in the Dome’s roof. The holes were part of a drainage system that, by design, would keep the Dome from collapsing under heavy snow (I know, I know).

Hrbek remembers being mildly surprised by the Kingman play.

“We were like, ‘It finally happened … so what happens now?’ ” Hrbek said.

Kingman was given a ground-rule double on the play. Viola eventually pitched the Twins to a 3-1 victory. Hatcher joked afterward that he spent the rest of the game looking up at the roof with his hands held out, because “you knew it was going to come down and hit you in the head sometime.”

Before the next day’s game, a worker went up to the roof, got the ball and dropped it as Hatcher stood below and tried, unsuccessfully, to catch it.

“We were just talking about that,” Hrbek said. “We were at fantasy camp, and Hatch was there for the first time. He said, ‘Everyone was laughing at me. I couldn’t see the darn thing when they dropped it and it almost hit me in the head.’ ”

Ten years ago, the Twins brought Kingman in to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the play. The Angels were in town, and Hatcher was their hitting coach. So there was an re-enactment. Hatcher dressed up in catcher’s gear, went out between first and second, and a Dome staffer went to the roof and dropped a ball. Hatcher stumbled and fell as the ball bounced off him.

“He said he tried to catch it,” Kingman joked.

  • related content

  • All-Star Game Insider

    Sunday May 4, 2014

    ALL-STAR GAME INSIDERTarget Field • Tuesday, July 15 • 7 p.m.Five notable Midsummer Classic controversies1957 — Ballot stuffing: Reds fans...

  • Sunday Insider: Central Intelligence

    Sunday May 4, 2014

    Anyone who has seen the numbers knows that one way to beat the Tigers is to grind it out against...

  • Sunday Insider: The 3-2 pitch

    Sunday May 4, 2014

    Three observations ...• The Dodgers are in a great spot. They can trade Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford — and...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Top 3rd123456789RHE
Detroit010      110
Minnesota16       770
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
HR: DET- None MIN- None
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
DetroitJ. Verlander (10-11)000
MinnesotaT. May (0-2)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox 1 Top 3rd Inning
NY Yankees 1
Tampa Bay 1 Top 4th Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 1 Top 3rd Inning
Minnesota 7
Seattle 0 Top 2nd Inning
Boston 1
Baltimore - B. Norris 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Houston - C. McHugh 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
St. Louis - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - A. Cashner 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Miami - T. Koehler 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:25 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
LA Angels - C. Wilson 8:05 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
NY Mets - J. deGrom 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
Oklahoma State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Chicago 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Montreal 6:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Chivas USA 6:30 PM
New England
Houston 6:30 PM
Columbus
D.C. 7:30 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver FC 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 4:00 PM
Washington
Minnesota 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close