The Battle of the Bay. The Bay Bridge Series. The BART Series. No matter what you call it, the 1989 World Series was certainly one to remember.
The 1989 World Series featured two teams, the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants, that are separated by less than 20 miles. The Oakland A's went 99-63 during the regular season and then defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. The Giants were 92-70 in 1989 and beat the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.
As a loyal A's fan, the 1989 World Series is still my favorite Fall Classic, but the play on the field is not the only reason it's so memorable.
Game 1: Dave Stewart Shuts Out Giants
The Giants had plenty of offensive talent on their roster with Will Clark (.333, 23 HR, 111 RBIs) and Kevin Mitchell (.291, 47 HR, 125 RBIs), but their bats were silenced in Game 1 by Dave Stewart. The Giants only managed five hits in the game, four of them by Clark and Mitchell, and Stewart posted a complete-game shutout. Dave Parker and Walt Weiss homered for the A's in the 5-0 Game 1 victory.
Game 2: Giants Offense Struggles Again in Loss
Oakland A's pitcher Mike Moore picked up where Dave Stewart left off and limited the Giants to one run over seven innings. Through the first two games of the series, the Giants had only managed nine hits and one run off A's pitching. Moore's battery mate, Terry Steinbach, was the offensive hero for the A's, as he hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning of Rick Reuschel. Rickey Henderson went 3-for-3 in the game with a triple and a stolen base.
The Loma Prieta Earthquake
At 5:04 p.m. on October 17, as the teams were preparing for Game 3 at Candlestick Park, a tragedy struck the Bay Area and promptly put baseball on the back burner. A magnitude 6.9 earthquake occurred along the San Andreas Fault causing a tremendous amount of damage in the Bay Area.
At the time, I was only 7, but I can still vividly remember watching the tragic situation unfold on live TV. The ABC broadcast team of Al Michaels and Tim McCarver were recapping the first two games of the series when the feed began to break up, and Michaels can be heard saying, "I tell you what, we're having an earth ..." as the video and audio both cut out.
(Go to the 4:20 mark of the video here.)
Due to the earthquake, Game 3 was cancelled and the focus shifted from sports to survival and healing. The Loma Prieta quake caused part of the Bay Bridge to collapse and damaged buildings in San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Cruz. The worst damage occurred on the Cypress Freeway when the top level of the freeway collapsed, sandwiching commuters between tons of concrete. Heroic efforts by nearby residents and first-responders were able to save many people, but, unfortunately, 41 people were killed in the wreckage of the freeway.
The heroes on the baseball field were appropriately overshadowed by the fire fighters, police officers, paramedics, and good samaritans that risked their lives to save others.
Game 3: Oakland's Offense Heats Up
The World Series resumed October 27, 10 days after the earthquake. Various public servants threw out the first pitch of the game in a truly emotional scene. The extended layoff meant that the Game 1 pitchers, Dave Stewart and Scott Garrelts, were able to come back and pitch in Game 3. Stewart was not as dominant as Game 1 but pitched well, giving up three runs in seven innings. Stewart would go on to win the World Series MVP Award. The A's offense erupted for 13 runs and got home runs from Dave Henderson (2), Jose Canseco, Carney Lansford, and Tony Phillips. The A's won the game 13-7, moving one game closer to the World Series title.
Game 4: Oakland A's Pull Off the Sweep
Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson led off the game with a home run, and the A's would never trail en route to the World Series title. Mike Moore pitched six innings and drove in two runs with a double while picking up his second win of the series. Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley came in to close out the game in the ninth and finished off the 9-6 Oakland victory.
The Importance of Perspective
The Loma Prieta earthquake, the lives that were lost, and the everyday heroes that emerged demonstrated what is truly important: Life is about what you do for others, and sports just happen to be a pleasant distraction. The games of the 1989 World Series were just that: games. A World Series between geographical rivals that could have divided a region, turned into a unifying event amid a terrible tragedy.
*Daniel became an Oakland A's fan during the Bash Brothers era of the late 1980s. He has followed the A's and Major League Baseball for over 20 years. Daniel is currently a Featured Contributor on the Yahoo! Contributor Network.