They are all gone now, the most unforgettable trio that we've had populate the Minnesota sports scene in our decades as a major league market, and perhaps the most bizarre when it came to friendship.

Sid Hartman died on Oct. 18, 2020, at 100-plus years, and Jerry Burns died on May 12, 2021, a few months after turning 94, and Bud Grant died on Saturday, two months shy of his 96th birthday and creating the possibility of a final, memorial garage sale on May 20.

Bud is the headline here, the sports legend who needed only a glance in your direction to shout "This is Minnesota," even though he comes from Superior, Wis., and spent many days in recent times at the cabin in Gordon, Wis.

What strikes me today, and for years, is the bond that Bud, Burnsie and Sid managed to create, when the commonalities among them were close to nonexistent.

Bud and Burnsie had football, of course, but beyond that:

Bud was the stoic on the sideline and Burnsie was the emotionally crazed offensive coach in the pressbox. Bud would for the most part parse his words after a game, win or lose, and Burnsie would often talk so fast and emotionally that his point was unclear — although not when defending Bob Schnelker.

Bud loved hunting, fishing, nature and would go north for his recreation. Burnsie loved golf and went south when a season ended, all the way to his place in Jamaica until a hurricane took away the hangout there.

Bud thought chasing a ball around on grass while trying to avoid sand was ridiculous. Burnsie couldn't believe a person would dress up in thick clothes on a freezing day and hide in the weeds in order to shoot waterfowl.

And into this twosome, dating to Bud playing for the football Gophers in the late '40s, and Burnsie coaching for Forest Evashevski at Iowa in the '50s, entered Hartman.

If Sid had gone on a lake in pursuit of a duck, it was one-in-three the result would be drowning, and as for golf … it's close to miraculous that his son Chad turned out to be a fine golfer considering the klutz that was his father.

And yet, despite Sid's well-known friendships with Bobby Knight, Lou Holtz, George Steinbrenner, etc., as an observer of Sid from 1963 until his death, I've always felt Bud was 1A and Burnsie was 1B among his close personal friends.

"That is absolutely correct," Chad said on Saturday, after learning of Bud's death. "He got to know those other guys. The bond with Bud and Burnsie went back almost to the beginning."

The simple and calm logic that ran Bud's life was revealed whenever asked how he became so friendly with Sid, the reporter, as a Gopher in the late '40s:

"Sid had a car."

I did the typing for Sid's autobiography in 1997 and added a chapter for anecdotes from friends, sources and co-workers. They were wonderful, but none better than one from Bud:

Long before northbound Interstate 35, Bud and Sid were headed on the winding highway from the Twin Cities to Duluth and then Superior. It was New Year's Eve and they were going to visit Bud's folks in Superior.

Sid's car blew a tire in the freezing dark outside Askov, Minn. Bud said he was 100% certain that the spare in Sid's trunk would be flat, which was the case.

In a search for help, Sid saw a light in the distance, went racing by foot and stuck himself in a snow-filled ditch. Asked where he was headed, Sid pointed toward the light.

"Long trip, Sid," Grant said. "That's the moon."

Bud could navigate by the stars, Sid couldn't pick out the moon, and yet they were the closest of friends. And Burnsie: just as different and 1B on the list.

As for Bud's football players that he coached, whether it was winning Grey Cups with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers or getting to Super Bowls with the Vikings, there were many on his list of most admired, but there was one that was at the top:

Jim Marshall.

That was repeated a few months ago, when I was asking Bud about Marshall again being overlooked by the Pro Football Hall of Fame's veterans committee.

Bud had dictated letters in Marshall's behalf, pleaded that the Vikings' ultimate ironman be honored for not only never missing a game, but also doing exactly the job Grant wanted from him in an extremely high percentage of games.

Add it up, durability and performance, and throw in what Grant said was "tremendous leadership," and Marshall rated as Bud's favorite player.

On Saturday, Marshall was too sad for an interview, but responded to a question: "What has been your reaction to having Bud describe you as his all-time favorite player?"

Marshall's response: "I'm honored."

And then he added: "I felt the same way about him. He was a great coach and friend. I will miss him."

The Vikings' "Ironman" could have been speaking for Minnesotans from Baudette to Blue Earth.

Sid, Burnsie and now our great gray fox, steely eyed against the elements on the Bloomington prairie. All were 94-plus, so it's going to happen, but that's a lot of our sports uniqueness to lose in 2½ years.

Minnesotans will never again see their likes … and I'm not talking about me, I'm talking toddlers.