Game 525 | January 19 | Paul Molitor, Terry Steinbach
So many Minnesota-born players came home to finish their careers with the Twins, and New Ulm's Terry Steinbach joined that list in 1998. Playing in 114 games, mostly at catcher, Steinbach, a former Gopher, hit .242 with 14 home runs and 54 RBIs. He played one more season for the Twins as catching duties moved to A.J. Pierzynski. Molitor, in the last of his three years with the Twins, retired at age 40 after batting .281 with four home runs and 64 RBIs.
Game 526 | February 11 | Glen Mason
The football Gophers improved in Mason's second year, finishing with a 5-6 record and ending the year with an impressive 49-7 victory over a visiting Iowa team in coach Hayden Fry's final Big Ten game as coach of the Hawkeyes. Billy Cockerham led the Gophers in passing while Thomas Hamner was the team's leading rusher. Tyrone Carter was named All American at strong safety.
Game 527 | March 6 | John Anderson, Hormel Classic Baseball Coaches
John Anderson's invitees in l998 included Rutgers, California and Connecticut. For the season the Gophers won the Big Ten Tournament and 17th conference title. Their 45 victories were the most ever for a Gopher baseball team. They lost to Alabama and Stanford in NCAA Regional play. Robb Quinlan and Craig Selander were named to the All-Big Ten First Team.
Game 528 | April 8 | Kevin Harlan
Son of long-time Green Bay Packers executive Bob Harlan, Kevin was the play-by-play voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves from the team's inception in 1989-1998. He gave Kevin Garnett the nickname, "The Big Ticket," and his colorful commentary led to a network job where he called numerous key games in both the NBA and NFL.
Game 529 | April 14 | Nancy Lopez
The local LPGA event, known in 1998 as the Rainbow Foods Classic, moved from Edinburgh USA to the newly finished Rush Creek. Lopez, on a media day, told Dunkers about her career in which she won three majors and 48 tour events. As a 17-year-old amateur in 1975 she finished second in the U.S. Open. Her husband, Ray Knight, is a former National League All-Star baseball player.
Game 530 | April 24 | Karyn Bye
Playing as the alternate captain, Bye was a central figure on the 1998 Gold Medal U.S. Women's Olympic Hockey Team. Also a member of the Silver Medal 2002 team at the Salt Lake games, Bye is a member of the University of New Hampshire Sports Hall of Fame. She was the second-leading scorer on the River Falls (Wisconsin) Wildcats boys hockey team, playing under the name of K.L. Bye.
Game 531 | April 27 | Michael Wadsworth
Serving as Notre Dame's Athletic Director from 1995-2000, Wadsworth oversaw the expansion of the team's football stadium by some 20,000 seats and negotiated a long-term television contract with NBC. He left Notre Dame to return to his law practice in Canada and died at age 60 in 2004.
Game 532 | May 15 | Tony Dungy
In just his second year as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Dungy's team finished second in the NFC Central division in 1997 while accomplishing their first winning season since 1982. Two years later the Bucs won their division only to lose to the St. Louis Rams in the NFC Championship game.
Game 533 | May 19 | Mark Yudof
When Nils Hasselmo stepped down as University of Minnesota President in 1997, a search committee unanimously recommedned Yudof, the University of Texas' provost and executive vice president. Yudof served the next fiVe years as Minnesota's president, spearheading the most ambitious build-ing project in the school's history. Although not a great sports fan, he was one of the first to advocate for the return of football from the Metrodome to a new on-campus facility.
Game 534 | June 23 | Arnold Palmer
The Burnet Classic had become the Coldwell Banker Burnet Classic in 1998, and organizer Hollis Cavner again lured his old friend Palmer to Minnesota. Winner of 94 career events between 1955 and 1993, Palmer won the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. The next summer he returned to Minnesota to play with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player in Tom Lehman's Dayton's Challenge at Minneapolis Golf Club.
Game 535 | July 16 | Chad Hartman, Dan Barreiro
Full-time sports talk stations were doing well coast-to-coast, and the local afternoon drive team of Hartman and Barriero was putting up big numbers at KFAN. Hartman, who also did play-by-play of Minnesota Timberwolves games, is the son of long-time Dunker Sid Hartman. Barriero was a sports columnist for the Star Tribune at the time.
Game 536 | August 3 | Red McCombs
The Minnesota Vikings were for sale, and for a brief moment it looked as if the buyer would be novelist Tom Clancy. When that plot fell apart it was Texas car dealer Billy Joe "Red" McCombs who stepped in to purchase the team for $246 million. He drew the ire of many long-time Dunkers when he used his appearance to chastise the community for its lack of support for the team and failed efforts to build the team a new stadium. During his seven-year ownership the team sold out every game while operating substantially below the league's salary cap. He sold the Vikings to Zygi Wilf in 2005 for a reported $625 million.
Game 537 | August 6 | David Graham
Born in Australia, Graham played most of his professional golf in the United States, winning eight PGA Tour events including two majors, the 1979 PGA Championship and the 1981 U.S. Open at Merion Country Club. Over his long career he won events on six different continents, a record he shares with Gary Player. He turned 50 in 1996 and won three times on the Champions Tour.
Game 538 | August 19 | Jim Ritts
A business executive with a strong background in advertising, marketing and television programming, Ritts was chosen to succeed Charles Mechem as Commissioner of the LPGA. He was in the Twin Cities in conjunction with the LPGA Classic, won by Sweden's Liselotte Neumann.
Game 539 | September 2 | Glen Mason
This was Coach Mason's second appearance in 1998. He talked about his strategy of controlling the flow of the game by establishing a strong, consistent running game. His words proved to be prophetic as he developed Thomas Hamner, Tellis Redmon, Thomas Tepeh, Marion Barber and Laurence Maroney, five of the top running backs in the history of the Gopher football program.
Game 540 | October 13 | Brad Johnson
Taken by the Minnesota Vikings in the ninth round of the 1992 draft, Johnson played quarterback for the team from 1992-1998 and again in 2005-2006. In between, he quarterbacked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. As the Vikings quarterback in 1997, he accomplished something unique in NFL history when he threw a touchdown pass to himself. He caught his own deflected pass, faked and ran three yards for a touchdown.
Game 541 | November 18 | Clem Haskins
In what turned out to be his 13th and final season as Gopher basketball coach, a scandal broke in the St. Paul Pioneer Press as the team prepared to take on Gonzaga in NCAA post-season play. By the time the investigation was over, Minnesota had lost five scholarships, had nine years of records nullified and went on probation for four years in what the NCAA termed the most serious violations it had seen in the last 20 years. Haskins, once described the most popular man in Minnesota, never again coached college basketball after moving back to his Kentucky farm.