1989 World Series
"It puts everything into perspective in that baseball is only a game and has pretty much nothing to do with life." - Giants first baseman Will Clark, talking about the earthquake.
While remembered best for the devastating earthquake that interrupted its progression, the 1989 World Series had many other subplots. It was the second straight all-California World Series, and the fourth overall as of 2012 (the others were in 1974, 1988, and 2002). It was the first World Series featuring teams in the same metro area since 1956. It featured one team that had been upset the previous Series and had a chip on its collective shoulder, versus a team that hadn't been to the Fall Classic in nearly three decades. The San Francisco Bay Area had largely been a laughingstock on the baseball frontier since the mid-1970s, but in October 1989, the eyes of a nation were transfixed as the Bay Area trotted out its two teams as combatants for baseball's ultimate prize.
- Rich Garcia (AL), Paul Runge (NL), Vic Voltaggio (AL), Dutch Rennert (NL), Al Clark (AL), Eric Gregg (NL)
|Game||Score||Date||Location||Attendance||Time of Game|
|1||Giants – 0, A’s – 5||October 14||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland)||49,385||2:45|
|2||Giants – 1, A’s – 5||October 15||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland)||49,388||2:47|
|3||A’s – 13, Giants – 7||October 27||Candlestick Park (San Francisco)||62,038||3:03|
|4||A’s – 9, Giants – 6||October 28||Candlestick Park (San Francisco)||62,032||3:07|
Game 1: October 14
|W: Dave Stewart (1-0) L: Scott Garrelts (0-1)|
The Series got underway at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 14th. The pitching matchup featured two pitchers coming off fine years: Scott Garrelts for the Giants, a seven-year veteran but a first-year starter, a 14-game winner who captured the National League's ERA title with a 2.28 mark, going up against the menacing, formidable Dave Stewart, a 20-game winner for the third consecutive year, and a runner-up in the American League's Cy Young Award voting.
As the game got underway, things started off bleakly for Stewart. He gloved a weak grounder hit by Robby Thompson in the 1st inning, and promptly threw the ball away, allowing Thompson to reach second and putting the Giants in an early position to strike first blood. Unfortunately for them, Thompson didn't score, and neither did his teammates. After the inauspicious start, Stewart mowed the San Francisco lineup down to the tune of a 5-0 complete-game shutout.
Game 2: October 15
|W: Mike Moore (1-0) L: Rick Reuschel (0-1)|
The next evening, Oakland rode a four-run 4th inning to a 5-1 victory. Three of those runs came on a home run by Terry Steinbach off 40-year-old Rick "Big Daddy" Reuschel in that fourth frame. Unbeknownst to Steinbach, manager Tony LaRussa had made a pregame prediction that the A's catcher would hit one out against Reuschel, citing that "Big Daddy" was a low-ball pitcher and Steinbach was a low-ball hitter.
Interrupted by Earthquake
Shortly before the scheduled start of Game 3 on October 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck, rattling the Bay Area for 15 terrifying, agonizing seconds. Early reports had the magnitude at 6.9, but the final, official reading was 7.1. Due to the destructive nature of this earthquake, and the fact that both teams' cities were affected, the game was postponed, as was the entire Series, for what would turn out to be ten days.
Game 3: October 27
|W: Dave Stewart (2-0) L: Scott Garrelts (0-2)|
When the Series did resume, on October 27th, at Candlestick Park, it was greeted by much fanfare, preceeded by a moment of silence. Singers on the field led the crowd of over 60,000 in the singing of San Francisco, while the Giants' pennant was hoisted up the flagpole. The ceremonial first pitches were thrown by the heroes who helped save lives - police, firemen, doctors/nurses, civilians - in the aftermath of the earthquake. Immediately afterward, on the field, the managers and the umpires met to discuss the ground rules that would be employed should an aftershock occur.
The game featured a rematch of starting pitchers from Game 1: Stewart versus Garrelts. As they did in Game One, the Athletics struck early, pushing across two runs on a Dave Henderson double that hit off the top of the chain-link fence in right field. Matt Williams hit a home run in the 2nd inning to cut the Athletics' lead in half. Both teams traded two runs in the 4th, but the A's pulled away in the 5th, tallying four runs on a three-run Canseco homer and a solo shot by Henderson. Oakland added one more in the 6th and four more in the 8th, effectively putting the game away. The Giants, resiliant all year, put up a four spot of their own in the bottom of the 9th but fell well short.
Losing the previous year's World Series in disappointing fashion had left a bitter taste in the A's mouths, but they knew that it would soon dissipate. They had history on their side; no team had ever lost a World Series after being up three games to none.
Game 4: October 28
|W: Mike Moore (2-0) L: Don Robinson (0-1) S:Dennis Eckersley|
In Game 4, Oakland built an 8-0 lead before Kevin Mitchell blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the 6th. The following inning, the Giants rallied for four more, cutting the A's lead to 8-6. In the top of the 8th, Steinbach drew a bases-loaded walk from Steve Bedrosian to give the Athletics an insurance run. As it would turn out, the A's wouldn't need it. Todd Burns retired the Giants in order in the bottom of the 8th, and Dennis Eckersley set them down in the 9th to seal the deal on Oakland's fourth World Series championship.
1989 was not the first time the Athletics and Giants franchises met in the World Series. They had clashed three times in the 1900s and 1910s, while the Giants were in New York and the Athletics were in Philadelphia.
In 1905, Christy Mathewson pitched three shutouts as the Giants triumphed four games to one. In 1911, the A's got revenge, beating the Giants four games to two. Just for good measure, the A's defeated the Giants again two years later, in the 1913 World Series.
The Athletics' victory was the 50th triumph for the American League in the history of the World Series.
- Wikipedia article on the Loma Prieta Earthquake
- Blog gathering pictures of the A's, Giants, and the Loma Prieta Earthquake
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series