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Shutdown Corner

Joe Montana’s Candlestick memories include being there for the 1989 World Series earthquake

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

Among the frightened people at Candlestick Park when a devastating earthquake famously hit before Game 3 of the 1989 World Series were a couple of frightened parents with a newborn son.

At that moment, Joe Montana really was just a regular Joe.

On a conference call to discuss the final scheduled game at Candlestick Park on Monday, Montana said that he was at that Giants-A's baseball game when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit. He was with his wife, Jennifer, and their two-week-old son Nate, who many years later would play college football.

Before the game the Montanas went to see 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo and then went down to their seats. It turns out that one of the most famous men in Candlestick Park's history was there for the most famous moment in the stadium's history, even though that wasn't common knowledge until he told the story this week.

"We were in our seats and we felt the earthquake, and the lights went out," Montana said. "My wife is going, 'We have to go, let's get out of here.' And I'm going, 'No, we have to stay, we have to watch the game.'"

Montana, like many others in the stadium at the time, had no idea how much damage had happened to the Bay Area from the earthquake, which measured 7.1 on the Richter scale. And even though he was coming off his third Super Bowl title with the 49ers, Montana was like everyone else at the game, stuck for hours until they could go home.

"She told me, 'I told you we should have gotten out of here when it first happened,'" Montana recalled. "I still get grief about it. We were stuck hours and hours in the parking lot."

Montana probably won't make it to the final game at Candlestick Park on Monday. His son Nick (who was born two-and-a-half years after the earthquake) is playing for Tulane in the New Orleans Bowl on Saturday. After that, the Montana family is spending a few days together for the holidays.

So while many 49ers greats will be on hand, one of the greatest is not planning to attend.

"We're only together for three days total before they have to break up," Montana said. "To be there would take another day-and-a-half, so most likely I will not be there Monday night."

Montana said Candlestick Park closing is bittersweet to him. The 49ers will move into Levi's Stadium next year. But Montana knew it was time.

"You have so many memories there, but from the beginning it wasn't the best place for fans to watch a game," Montana said. "I know they think and believe that [it was the best], until they get into the new stadium."

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

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