1989 World Series

1989 World Series Logo.

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 at the beginning of Game 3 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.[1] 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.[2]


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.


AL Oakland Athletics (4) vs NL San Francisco Giants (0)

1 San Francisco Giants - 0, Oakland Athletics - 5 October 14 Oakland Coliseum 49,385[3]
2 San Francisco Giants - 1, Oakland Athletics - 5 October 15 Oakland Coliseum 49,388[4]
3 Oakland Athletics - 13, San Francisco Giants - 7 October 27 Candlestick Park 62,038[5]
4 Oakland Athletics - 9, San Francisco Giants - 6 October 28 Candlestick Park 62,032[6]


Game 1Edit

Saturday, October 14, 1989 at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California

Team 123456789RHE
San Francisco 000000000 0 51
Oakland 03110000X 5 111
WP: Dave Stewart (1-0)  LP: Scott Garrelts (0-1)  
HRs:  OAK – Dave Parker (1), Walt Weiss (1)

The first game of the Bay Bridge Series saw Athletics ace Dave Stewart take on the Giants' Scott Garrelts. Before the contest, a tribute to late Commissioner Bart Giamatti was held, with Giamatti's son Marcus throwing out the first pitch and the Whiffenpoofs from Yale University (Giamatti's alma mater) singing the national anthem.[7]

In the bottom of the second, Oakland took a lead it would never relinquish, when Dave Henderson walked, took second on a Terry Steinbach single, and scored on another single by Tony Phillips that moved Steinbach up to third. Walt Weiss then sent a soft ground ball toward first, but Giants first baseman (and NLCS MVP) Will Clark threw the ball low and to the right, and the sliding Steinbach knocked the ball out of catcher Terry Kennedy's mitt. Kennedy was charged with an error, and Rickey Henderson then singled Phillips home, making the score 3-0 for Oakland.[7]

A's designated hitter Dave Parker led off the Oakland third by tattooing a solo home run off Garrelts, and Weiss added one of his own leading off the fourth. This was more than enough for a dominant Stewart, who hurled a five-hitter to give the Athletics a 5-0 lead and a 1-0 edge in the Series. "We ran into a buzz saw," Clark said of Stewart's pitching.[7]

Game 2Edit

Sunday, October 15, 1989 at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California

Team 123456789RHE
San Francisco 001000000 1 40
Oakland 10040000X 5 70
WP: Mike Moore (1-0)  LP: Rick Reuschel (0-1)  
HRs:  OAK – Terry Steinbach (1)

The ceremonial first pitch in Game 2, featuring Oakland's Mike Moore taking on San Francisco's Rick Reuschel, was thrown by Little League World Series MVP and future NHL star Chris Drury.

In the bottom of the second, the Athletics went to work, as Rickey Henderson walked, stole second, then scored on a double to right field by Steinbach. The Giants pushed across their first run of the Series in the top of the third, when Kennedy singled and was forced out at second by José Uribe. A single by Brett Butler advanced Uribe to third, and he then scored on a sacrifice fly by second baseman Robby Thompson.[7]

However, the A's took the lead right back in their half of the fourth. After José Canseco drew a walk, Parker drove a line shot off the wall that was both an inch from being foul and an inch from being a home run. Parker, who momentarily stood at the plate to watch the flight of the ball, began running as soon as the ball hit the wall, and it seemed that Giants right fielder Candy Maldonado's return throw had nabbed Parker at second. But second base umpire Dutch Rennert called Parker safe, while Canseco scored all the way from first. After Dave Henderson walked and Mark McGwire struck out, Steinbach drove a Reuschel pitch into the left field seats, scoring both Parker and Henderson. The Giants had no answer for Oakland's relievers, and the A's took a 5-1 victory and a 2-0 lead in the Series.[7]

The Loma Prieta earthquakeEdit

Template:Prose The Loma Prieta earthquake struck on October 17, 1989 at 5:04 p.m. Because of the coincidence of timing it was the first major earthquake in the United States ever to be broadcast by live television. Experts credit the timing of the World Series as a lucky break that prevented massive loss of life and a possible firestorm in the city. Among other fortuitous coincidences:

  • Due to the game, traffic was light on freeways that collapsed in the earthquake. Initial expectations were that hundreds of people had died in the collapse of Interstate 880 in Oakland; the final death toll from that event was 42.
  • A blimp that had been covering the game was used to coordinate emergency efforts.
  • Although the city's emergency water system failed due to ruptured water mains, volunteers helped connect hoses from San Francisco's fireboat, the Phoenix, to fight fires with pumped salt water from the nearby bay.[8]

The earthquake affected the World Series in various ways:

  • Out of respect for the earthquake victims, the Oakland Athletics weren't allowed to celebrate their World Series victory with champagne.
  • According to umpire Vic Voltaggio, he distinctly remembers seeing a white wall waving either during or immediately after the earthquake. Meanwhile, fellow umpire Al Clark was still in the locker room preparing to go to work. Apparently, Clark ran out to the field with just his underwear on when the earthquake hit.
  • The ten day delay in-between Games 2 and 3 was the longest delay in World Series history. The World Series was originally supposed to resume after a five day delay, but since the transmission links weren't properly connected yet, the wait went on for another five days.
  • ABC's actual opening for the October 17 telecast (leading up to Al Michaels informing the viewers of the earthquake) was used at the beginning of a 1990 television movie (documenting the Loma Prieta earthquake) called After The Shock.[9]
  • Fay Vincent had made the decision to postpone Game 3 without telling anybody first. As a result, the umpires filed a formal protest of Vincent's decision.
  • When the Athletics players were advised to return to Oakland after Game 3 was postponed, they had to travel through San Jose. While it would normally take around 30 minutes to travel from Oakland to San Francisco, it took the A's around two hours to get back to Oakland, due to the collapse of a roadway section of the Bay Bridge.
  • According to Tim McCarver, when the earthquake hit, he and his broadcasting partners Al Michaels and Jim Palmer immediately grabbed what they perceived to be the armrests. In reality, the announcers were clutching on each other's thighs and they were left with bruises the next day. Years later, Al Michaels would boldly admit his strong belief that had the earthquake lasted much longer than 18 seconds, he would have been killed.
  • Shortly after the earthquake, José Canseco and his wife Esther were spotted filling up their car at a self-service gas station. José was still in his full Oakland Athletics road uniform while at the gas station. In Canseco's book Juiced, he says that someone wrote an article portraying him as forcing his wife to pump the gas, but that in reality, she told José to let her do it because if people saw him in his full uniform, it would cause a scene.
  • In the CBS Radio Network booth that was right next to the ABC Sports television booth, announcers Jack Buck, Johnny Bench, and John Rooney bolted as soon as the earthquake started. This was in sharp contrast to ABC's Al Michaels, Jim Palmer, and Tim McCarver, who all seemed to maintain their composure on camera once a back-up generator restored their power. Bench ran to a spot underneath a steel grate. Buck soon told Bench "If you would have moved that fast when you played, you wouldn't have hit into so many double plays."
  • Fay Vincent accused San Francisco mayor Art Agnos of being difficult to work with. Agnos wanted to wait a month before resuming the World Series. Vincent responded by telling Agnos a month-long delay wasn't acceptable and that the World Series might consider moving to another location.
  • Following the earthquake, ABC aired a rerun of Roseanne for about 15 minutes before returning. From that point, Ted Koppel anchored news coverage from Washington with Michaels acting as a de facto reporter. The Goodyear Blimp (which was already aloft for the game) provided video of structural damage and fires within the city.
  • Journalists in the New York area chided MLB for deciding to go on with the Series. However, events had been going on as scheduled, and other commentators claimed that the New York-area journalists merely disdained a World Series not played in New York or Boston (cf. the 1986 Series).
  • ESPN's Peter Gammons and Oakland Athletics pitcher Bob Welch were walking by the Marina Middle School in order to get a residency pass. While they were walking, they saw a slightly unshaven man with a white wind-breaker waiting in line for his pass. The man turned out to be Joe DiMaggio. Gammons shared this story during a 1999 SportsCenter Flashback special chronicling the 1989 World Series.

Game 3Edit

Originally scheduled for Tuesday October 17, 1989 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco; rescheduled to October 27 after the Loma Prieta earthquake Template:Seealso

Team 123456789RHE
Oakland 200241040 13 140
San Francisco 010200004 7 103
WP: Dave Stewart (2-0)  LP: Scott Garrelts (0-2)  
HRs:  OAK – Carney Lansford (1), José Canseco (1), Dave Henderson 2 (2), Tony Phillips (1)  SFG – Matt Williams (1), Bill Bathe (1)

Giants catcher Bill Bathe became the fifth National League player in World Series history to hit a home run in his very first at-bat. Bathe's teammate Matt Williams noticed Bathe wobbling when the earthquake started. Apparently, Bathe was looking in the stands to search for his family.

When Game 3 was originally scheduled for October 17, the scheduled starting pitchers were Bob Welch for the A's and Don Robinson for the Giants. Meanwhile, Ken Oberkfell was slated to start at third base for the Giants, with Matt Williams moving over to shortstop instead of the benched José Uribe. Also, Pat Sheridan was slated to take over for Candy Maldonado in right field for the Giants. Maldonado told ESPN that he was in the clubhouse getting ready when the earthquake hit. The first person he saw in the midst of all of this was his teammate, Don Robinson, who told Maldonado that he sensed that an earthquake was occurring.

Game 4Edit

Saturday, October 28, 1989 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California

Team 123456789RHE
Oakland 130031010 9 120
San Francisco 000002400 6 90
WP: Mike Moore (2-0)  LP: Don Robinson (0-1)  SV: Dennis Eckersley (1)  
HRs:  OAK – Rickey Henderson (1)  SFG – Kevin Mitchell (1), Greg Litton (1)

At the time, October 28 was the latest end date for a World Series, even though the series only lasted the minimum four games. (This record was tied in 1995, and broken by the terrorism-delayed 2001 World Series which ran from October 27 through November 4.) The World Series now regularly ends around this time because there is an extra round of playoffs.

Composite BoxEdit

1989 World Series (4-0): Oakland Athletics (A.L.) over San Francisco Giants (N.L.)

Team 123456789RHE
Oakland Athletics 461772050 32 441
San Francisco Giants 011202404 14 284

Radio and television coverageEdit

ABC play-by-play man Al Michaels, who spent three years in San Francisco as an announcer for the Giants, was nominated for an Emmy Award for news broadcasting after giving an eyewitness account of the aftermath of the earthquake at Candlestick Park.

This would be the last World Series that ABC would televise from start to finish (and also the last they would produce themselves). The television rights would move exclusively (ABC had partnered with NBC since 1976 up until the end of the 1989 season) to CBS the following year. ABC would next televise a World Series in 1995, but only broadcast Games 1, 4, and 5 (the other games were covered by NBC, who had a joint venture with ABC and MLB called The Baseball Network) as a result of the cancellation of the 1994 World Series (which was slated for ABC) due to the 1994 baseball strike.

This was the last World Series that Jack Buck would broadcast on radio. He called the following two World Series on television for CBS.

Series quotesEdit

...and he fails to get Dave Parker at second base, so the Oakland A's take......take........I'll tell you what, we're having an earth...

ABC Sports color commentator Tim McCarver and play-by-play commentator Al Michaels, respectively. Michaels' sentence was cut off to the television audience due to the loss of power during the earthquake.

Well...(Al chuckles)...I dunno if we're on the air...we're in commercial I guess...(crew members tell Al that they hear him)...I don't hear a thing...(crew members tell Al that they saved McCarver)...well I dunno if we're on the air or not and I'm not sure that we hear you right at the moment, but we are. Well folks, that's the greatest open in the history of television. Bar none! (Someone talks to Al)...yes it certainly did, we're still here...we are still - as we can tell - on the air and I guess you hearing us even though we have no picture and no return audio and we will be back - we hope - from San Francisco in just a moment.

Al Michaels broadcasting after the earthquake, through a telephone line and there is no video.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are postponing the game because there is no power in the stadium. We would like for you to leave in an orderly way. I don't think there's any grave danger, but we have no idea when the power's going to be on and we have to get people out of here before it gets dark.

It's a ground ball to the right side, speared by Phillips, flips to Eckersley...YES!!! He's there in time, and the A's are the World Champions!

Michaels calling the final out of the Series.

I think we may have just won the most historic World Series of all time, with having to deal with the delay and everything. I don't think anybody's had to go through anything like what we did to win and compete for a world championship!

Oakland Athletics manager Tony LaRussa after the series win.

[Losing baseball to CBS was] tough to had been an early stepchild at ABC and had come such a long way.

Al Michaels after Game 4.

Great reviews, as ABC baseball ends.

Gary Thorne, upon presiding over the Commissioner's Trophy presentation, in response to Michael's post-Game 4 statement.


  1. The black armbands that the Athletics and Giants wore were in memory of the deceased commissioner. In addition, the official World Series balls had Giamatti's signature on them. The Rawlings 1989 World Series Game Baseball. The ball features the World Series logo in Blue, traditional red stitch, and the printed signature of A. Bartlett Giamatti, Commissioner of MLB.
  2. Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures, 2008 Edition, p.366, David Nemec and Scott Flatow, A Signet Book, Penguin Group, New York, NY, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0
  3. 1989 World Series Game 1 - San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland Athletics. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-10.
  4. 1989 World Series Game 2 - San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland Athletics. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-10.
  5. 1989 World Series Game 3 - Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-10.
  6. 1989 World Series Game 4 - Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-10.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Wulf, Steve. "On a Roll", Sports Illustrated, 2008-06-10. Retrieved on 2008-06-10.
  8. Loma Pietra Earthquake. "". Retrieved 2008-12-03
  9. After the Shock (1990) (TV)


  • Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series. 1st ed. New York: St Martins, 1990. (Neft and Cohen 430-434)
  • Forman, Sean L.. 1989 World Series. - Major League Statistics and Information.. Retrieved on 2007-12-09.

External linksEdit

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