Game 492 | February 6 | Herb Carneal, John Gordon,
Dick Bremer, Tommy John, Bert Blyleven, Ryan Lefebvre
Just before the start of 1996 spring training the Twins radio and television broadcasters visited Dunkers and shared their thoughts on the young team. The radio crew again that year was Herb Carneal and John Gordon. The four-man television team included Dick Bremer, Tommy John, Bert Blyleven and Ryan Lefebvre.
Game 493 | February 20 | Tim Tschida
Once the youngest umpire in major league baseball. Tschida, a St. Paul native, was entering his 11th season in 1996. He talked of discussions to blend the American and National League umpiring staffs and predicted it would happen in coming years. He was right, and in 2000 the two staffs were combined. In 2007 he became a crew chief.
Game 494 | April 3 | Carl Pohlad, Tom Kelly
With the real prospect of losing the Twins via sale to an out-of-town owner, Pohlad stepped up to purchase the team from Calvin Griffith in 1984. A well-known banker and business owner, Pohlad had been a member of Dunkers since 1989. He talked about the decision to promote from within by naming Kelly to succeed Ray Miller as manager, 10 years and two World Series ago. The 1995 Twins had one of the worst seasons in team history, finishing 56-88, a full 44 games out of first place. The 1996 team improved to 78-84.
Game 495 | April 12 | Phil Esposito
With professional hockey talking about expansion, a group from Tampa, Florida, enlisted Esposito's help in positioning that city as a possible expansion choice. When Tampa was selected in 1992, the former Boston Bruins great was named the team's president and general manager, positions he held until l998. As a player; he became the first man in NHL history to score more than 100 points in a season.
Game 496 | May 2 | Michele Tafoya
Holder of both a B.A. and M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, Tafoya came to this market as a reporter at KFAN radio. She joined CBS in 1998 as a sideline reporter on NFL football broadcasts. Since 2006 she has been a sideline reporter on Monday Night Football broadcasts.
Game 497 | May 21 | Flip Saunders
One year after appearing at Dunkers in his new role as Timberwolves President, Saunders was back, this time as head coach. He replaced Bill Blair on the sidelines in mid December 1995 with the team off to a 6-14 start. Under Saunders the team went 20-42 the rest of the season, but the emergence of young Kevin Garnett was a major plus to the team in the second half of the season.
Game 498 | May 29 | Mike Veeck
Veeck's St. Paul Saints continued to thrive in 1996 with the attendance nearing that of the Twins on several occasions. Highlight of the 1996 Saints season was the signing of former major league all-star Darryl Strawberry as an outfielder. On June 3, he hit a home run in Duluth that was estimated to have traveled 522 feet. A month later he signed a contract to return to the major leagues with the New York Yankees.
Game 499 | June 28 | Tom Lehman
The highlight of Lehman's professional golf career came in 1996 when he won the British Open. He was named PGA Tour Player of the Year that season. Saying he was playing his best golf in years, the Alexandria, Minnesota, native spoke to Dunkers just 23 days before his two-stroke victory over Ernie Els at Royal Lytham.
Game 500 | July 11 | Herb Score, Tommy John,
With the Cleveland Indians in town to play the Minnesota Twins, broadcasters John and Blyleven invited their friend from their years with the Indians to join them at Dunkers. With the Minneapolis Club fully booked, this meeting was held at Interlachen Country Club. Score, a hard-throwing left bander, was one of the top power pitchers in baseball in the mid 50s. In 1957 he was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of New York's Gil McDougald. While he was able to come back, he was never again the pitcher he was before the injury. He served as a Cleveland broadcaster from 1964 to 1997.
Game 501 | August 9 | Representatives from the IIHF
Representing the governing board of most hockey programs outside of North America, representatives of the International Ice Hockey Federation discussed the state of the game in Europe and Eastern block countries. The U.S. team finished third in the 1996 World Games won by Sweden.
Game 502 | August 23 | Tom Malchow
A St. Paul native who swam collegiately for Michigan, Malchow won a silver medal in the 200-meter butterfly in the 1996 Olympic games and a gold medal in the same event in the 2000 games. A graduate of St. Thomas Academy, he shattered a world record in the 2000 games. That record was subsequently broken by Michael Phelps.
Game 503 | September 11 | Jim Wacker
Popular as he was with the fans, Wacker was unable to hold his job as Gopher football coach after a fifth losing season in 1996. The team won its first three games, including a win over a ranked Syracuse team, but lost seven of its last eight and finished ninth in the Big Ten. In his five years as head coach the Gophers went 16-39 and won only eight Big Ten games. After losing his job at Minnesota he went back to Southwest Texas as athletic director and died of cancer in 2003 at age 66.
Game 504 | October 1 | Ray Christensen, Paul Flatley,
Herb Carneal, Sid Hartman, Dave Mona, Dark Star
This meeting featured a panel of long-time Twin Cities sports voices including Ray Christensen, Paul Flatley, Herb Carneal, Sid Hartman, Dave Mona and Dark Star. The six speakers combined for more than 200 years of local broadcast history.
Game 505 | October 24 | Doug Woog
The 1996-97 Gopher hockey team finished 28-13-1 and won the WCHA championship. Mike Crowley, Casey Hankinson, Ryan Kraft and Dave Spehar led the high-scoring team which defeated Michigan State in NCAA playoff action before losing to Michigan.
Game 506 | November 22 | Dan O'Brien
One of the top performances in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta was O'Brien's gold-medal winning Decathalon. A University of Idaho graduate, O'Brien is of African American and Finnish heritage and was adopted into an Irish American family. In 1992 he set a world record in the Decathalon, and Reebok launched a series of commercials featuring the rivalry between "Dan and Dave." His closest competitor at the time was fellow American Dave Johnson.