On this day in 1971, Veterans Stadium opened as the Philadelphia Phillies hosted the Montreal Expos in a game where future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning would ultimately guide the team to a 4-1 victory.
Veterans Stadium was home to the Phillies from 1971-2003, and the Eagles from 1971-2002. While quite a few not-so-positive urban legends - many of which are rooted in some level of truth - emerged from The Vet, so too did some incredible memories. Here’s a look at five of the greatest Philadelphia sports moments at Veterans Stadium:
Perhaps the most iconic performance of Brian Dawkins’ Hall of Fame career came at Veterans Stadium in Week 4 of the 2002 NFL season.
In their inaugural season, Dawkins welcomed the Houston Texans into the league in a variety of ways. Late in the first quarter, he recovered a fumble from Houston quarterback David Carr. Late in the second quarter, he picked Carr off. In the third quarter, he caught a pass and then ran for a touchdown on a fake punt. For good measure, he sacked Carr with less than a minute left to finish out a 35-17 win in front of nearly 65,000 wins.
On June 21, 1971, Phillies' righty Rick Wise produced one of the most incredible no-hitters in MLB history. Not only did the Cincinnati Reds not record a hit against him, but he hit two home runs himself in a 4-0 victory over what would become "The Big Red Machine."
That no-hitter - which took place just months after Veterans Stadium opened - happened in Cincinnati, at Riverfront Stadium. It would be nearly two decades before a Phillies pitcher would toss a no-hitter at The Vet.
Considering the Dallas Cowboys haven't reached the NFC Championship Game since 1995, it may be hard for some fans to envision them playing so deep into the postseason. They did in 1980, as Tom Landry looked looked to guide them to their third Super Bowl title.
Landry adding to his trophy case wasn't in the cards, though, as the Cowboys had to first pay a visit to Veterans Stadium to attempt to win the NFC title. The weather was bitter cold that day - it was just 12 degrees with a wind chill of -3. The Cowboys, who entered the game as one-point favorites, were limited to just seven points ultimately. Cowboys' quarterback Danny White fumbled the ball twice, part of five fumbles - three of which were lost by Dallas - forced by the Eagles' defense on Jan. 11, 1981.
The Eagles fumbled the ball four times themselves in the 1980 NFC Championship Game, but recovered all their fumbles. Though quarterback Ron Jaworski would only throw for 91 yards, the Eagles offense put up 20 points because they shredded the Cowboys' defense on the ground. Wilbert Montgomery had a career-defining performance, as he ran for 194 yards and a touchdown en route to helping the Eagles secure their first ever Super Bowl berth. For good measure, Leroy Harris added in 60 yards on just 10 carries, while also scoring a touchdown.
Jim Fregosi’s upstart 1993 Phillies are the most beloved team in franchise history. In the only winning season that they would post the entire decade, the Phillies won 97 regular season games and the National League East title.
A year after winning just 70 regular season games, the Phillies sent four players - Darren Daulton, Terry Mulholland, John Kruk and Dave Hollins - to the All-Star Game. They also employed Curt Schilling and Lenny Dykstra, two polarizing individuals that made nine career All-Star teams themselves.
After 97 seasons, the Phillies were finally crowned World Series Champions for the first time on Oct. 21, 1980.
Eventual World Series MVP Mike Schmidt drove in two of the Phillies four runs in Game 6 of the series, with Bake McBride and Bob Boone also providing RBIs.