1989 World Series

The 1989 World Series was played between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants.

The Series ran from October 14 through October 28, with the A's sweeping the Giants in four games. It was the first World Series sweep since 1976, and is best remembered for the Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred on October 17 before Game 3 was to begin, and caused a 10-day disruption in play. Fay Vincent presided over the Series, his first as Commissioner of Baseball after the sudden death of his predecessor Bart Giamatti over a month earlier. This Series is also known as the "Earthquake Series," "Bay Bridge Series," and "The Battle of the Bay." It was the first World Series in which the losing team never had the lead and never had the tying run at the plate in its final turn at-bat.

The San Francisco Giants won the National League West division by three games over the San Diego Padres then defeated the Chicago Cubs, four games to one, in the National League Championship Series. The Oakland Athletics won the American League West division by seven games over the Kansas City Royals then defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, four games to one, in the American League Championship Series.

The final Fall Classic of the 1980's is not remembered for the games that took place within the two bay area ballparks. It is remembered for the tragedy and heroism that took place just outside of them. The San Francisco Giants had finally returned to post-season play after struggling for several years while rebuilding its once great dynasty. Their nearby rivals, the Oakland Athletics, had just been beaten by the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one and were determined to make amends for their poor showing in the '88 affair.

The Athletics Dave Stewart took the first step in Game 1 and dominated the National League champions by pitching a five-hit, six-strikeout, shutout for the 5-0 opening victory. Game 2 looked very much the same as Oakland's rotation ruled the mound. Mike Moore (who went seven innings) and relievers Rick Honeycutt and Dennis Eckersley combined for a 5-1, four-hitter that was supported by Terry Steinbach's three run home run off Rick Reuschel. If it was respect the A's wanted, manager Tony La Russa's team was certainly on the right track.

As the Series shifted across the bay to San Francisco's Candlestick Park, 60,000+ fans were anxiously awaiting a home team comeback. At exactly 5:00 PM on October 17th, the pre-game formalities got underway as both line-ups took the field for their introductions. Four minutes later the earth shook violently as a 6.9 earthquake rocked the entire bay area. Amazingly, the crowd and players remained relatively calm despite the swaying press boxes and sudden loss of power. Most live radio and TV broadcasts were temporarily knocked off the air and many did not know the extent of the damage outside the walls of Candlestick. Luckily the ballpark had held up during the disaster saving many lives, but the surrounding area was not as fortunate. In the end sixty-seven people died and the miles of crumbled buildings and collapsed roads cost billions to repair. Commissioner Fay Vincent immediately announced the postponement of Game 3 and everyone was ordered to vacate the stadium before darkness set in. Twenty-four hours later it was decided that the contest would be postponed for ten days moving the third outing to October 27th. While some critics called for cancellation of the remainder of the Series (in respect to the earthquake victims) most felt that it would be better to move on as part of the area's healing process.

After the difficult period passed, Oakland returned just as they had left with a record-tying five home runs including two by Dave Henderson and one each by Jose Canseco, Carney Lansford and Tony Phillips. A well-rested Stewart held the Giants to three runs and five hits for the 13-7 triumph. The victory made Stewart, (winner of sixty-two regular-season games in the last three years) the first man in history to record two victories in the same season in both the League Championship Series and the Fall Classic. San Francisco was never able to recover as the A's cruised to an 8-0 lead after 4½ innings in Game 4. Rickey Henderson had started the rally with an opening homer in the first and Moore nailed a 0-2 pitch from Don Robinson for a two run double in the Athletics' four run outburst. The Giants rallied for two runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh, but the A's clutch relief pitching from Todd Burns and Eckersley, held on for a 9-6 victory that wrapped up the Series title.

In the end, the bittersweet championship was dedicated to the victims of the San Francisco earthquake and many residents though disappointed by the Giants loss, were grateful that baseball was there (as it always was) to help ease their pain.