October 13, 2009

Remembering the 1989 World Series Earthquake



There has only been a few things that ever stopped a World Series game and the 1989 World Series was stopped by an earthquake.

The Oakland Athletics faced off against the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park in the "Battle of the Bay" and were set to play game three as the Athletics held a 2-0 series lead. The Loma Preita earthquake had another idea.

The game was scheduled for 5:15 pm pst and the ABC crew of Al Michaels, Tim McCarver and Jim Palmer were going through a highlight package of Game 2. The quake stuck at 5:04pm as a 7.0 on the Richter scale.

Most of the power was lost in the stadium, players/fans/coaches/and media members were running for cover as some of them had never experienced an earthquake while most of the fans started to chant "Play Ball." The only ongoing coverage on the ground was done by ESPN's Bob Ley who left his position in the press box at the top of the stadium and lucked out on the fact that the ESPN control room was being run on a diesel generator.

Ironically, the World Series helped save many lives since many people in the San Francisco Bay Area were either at the stadium or at viewing parties for the game. The Bay Bridge which connects Oakland to San Francisco had a section of it collapse but due to light traffic, the loss of life was less than what it would have been on a normal day.

In another lucky break, people within Candlestick Park were saved by another coincidence as the upper deck was reinforced by a seismic-strengthing project which was completed earlier in the year. Ironically for once, construction was ahead of schedule.

The Athletics went onto sweep the World Series from the Giants for their only title during their run to three straight World Series. However, the Athletics celebration was short-lived due to the earthquake and put a damper on a team that could be celebrated as one of the best ever. The 1989 World Series earthquake was one of the most memorable moments in World Series history and in the end, the World Series helped prevent many lives from being lost.

(Sources used for this story includes Wikipedia and ESPN)

By Ben Chew with No comments

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