SkyDome set to celebrate 20 years

September 12, 2009, 6:00 PM

It is ironic that on the night the Rogers Centre – known then as the SkyDome – opened on June 3, 1989, spectators inside the multi-million dollar stadium got drenched with rain.

Wasn’t the retractable roof designed to prevent that?

It was of course but at the stadium’s grand opening no amount of rain was going to spoil the show. So as thousands of spectators cheered, the massive roof opened and the rain came pouring in. Toronto had its state-of-the-art showpiece.

In the 20 years that have followed, the stadium in Toronto’s downtown has seen two World Series championships involving the Blue Jays, a classic Grey Cup between Hamilton and Saskatchewan that featured ‘The Kick’, concerts by the biggest musical acts in the world, a battle for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Man’, pro wrestling at its peak and even a few basketball games featuring the Toronto Raptors.

Sportsnet.ca has compiled some of the more memorable moments, in chronological order, of the past two decades:

June 5, 1989 – Blue Jays play their first game at the SkyDome, losing to the Milwaukee Brewers 5-3 before a crowd of 48,378. Brewer Paul Molitor gets the first base hit, while Blue Jay Fred McGriff hits the first home run.

June 7, 1989 – Ernie Whitt has three hits and drives in three runs and John Cerutti goes all the way as the Blue Jays beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 for their first win at SkyDome. Thanks to issues with the roof opening and closing, it was the first game in Major League history played indoors and outdoors on the same day.

June 8, 1989 – Rod Stewart performs the first concert at SkyDome.

August 4, 1989 – Blue Jays righthander Dave Stieb loses a perfect game with one out to go vs. the New York Yankees.

October 7, 1989 – Jose Canseco hits the first home run into the SkyDome’s fifth deck off Blue Jays lefthander Mike Flanagan. The blast is officially measured at 480 feet.

November 26, 1989 – Dave Ridgeway nails ‘The Kick’, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders defeat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 43-40 in the CFL’s 77th Grey Cup.

April 1, 1990 - Wrestlemania VI is held before a crowd of 67,678. The Ultimate Warrior defeats Hulk Hogan for the WWE heavyweight title.

May 15, 1990 – Fans at a Mariners-Jays game get an unexpected show when a couple can be seen having sex in one of the 70 hotel rooms overlooking the field.

June 29, 1990 – Oakland Athletics righthander Dave Stewart throws the only no-hitter in the stadium’s history to date, defeating the Blue Jays 5-0.

July 9, 1991 – SkyDome hosts the 62nd MLB All-Star Game before a crowd of 52,383. Blue Jays Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter and Jimmy Key (who is credited with the win) are named to the AL squad.

October 2, 1991 – Blue Jays clinch their third American League East division title in a 6-5 win over the California Angels and become the first team in MLB history to draw over four million fans in a season (4,001,526).

October 4, 1992 – In front of a crowd of 50,421, the Blue Jays surpass the four-million mark in home attendance for the second straight season and set a new MLB attendance record with 4,028,318 fans.

October 20, 1992 - The Blue Jays play host to the first World Series game outside the United States defeating the Atlanta Braves 3-2.

October 23, 1993 – Blue Jays win back-to-back World Series on Joe Carter’s walk-off home run in Game 6 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

November 3, 1995 – The Toronto Raptors play their inaugural game in the NBA, defeating the New Jersey Nets 94-79.

March 24, 1996 – The Raptors defeat the Chicago Bulls 109-108 before a crowd of 36,131 in what would be one of only 10 losses on the year for the Michael Jordan-led Bulls.

May 31, 1997 – Canadian Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson race for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Man’ in a 150-metre race. However, Johnson pulls up lame after the first turn and Bailey completes the race in 14.99 seconds, banking $1 million for the victory.

August 17, 2001 – Blue Jays third baseman Jeff Frye hits for the cycle in a 11-3 victory over the Texas Rangers. He becomes the second Jay to do so, with the first, Kelly Gruber, in attendance that day.

September 25, 2003 – Blue Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado becomes the 15th player in major league history to hit four home runs in one game, going 4-4 in a 10-8 vs. the Tampa Bay Rays.

December 7, 2008 – Now named the Rogers Centre, it plays host to the first regular-season NFL game played in Canada as the Miami Dolphins defeat the Buffalo Bills before a crowd of 52,134.

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