Monday, October 28, 2013

Athletics Sweep Giants In "Battle of the Bay" World Series

On Oct. 28, 1989, the Oakland Athletics finish off a sweep of the San Francisco Giants in the 1989 World Series, also known as the Battle of the Bay. The series would be the longest series in terms of length of days from start to finish of any World Series in history, due to the Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred on Oct. 17 before Game 3, and caused a 10-day disruption of play.

The 1989 World Series saw the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants battling it out for Major League Baseballs World Series championship for the first time ever.

The first game of the series saw the Athletics throw out Dave Stewart in front of a sold out crowd in the east bay against the Giants Scott Garrelts.

Oakland took the lead in the bottom of the second when Dave Henderson walked, advanced to 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 of catcher Terry Kennedy. Steinbach knocked the ball out of Kennedy's mitt, scoring the second run of the inning. Kennedy was charged with an error, and Phillips advanced to second. Rickey Henderson then drove in Phillips on a single to right field; the second inning ended with Oakland leading 3–0.

A's designated hitter Dave Parker tattooed a solo home run to lead off the third off of Garrelts, and Weiss added a lead off home run of his own leading in the fourth. Oakland starter Stewart dominated the Giants, allowing five hits in a complete game, handing the A's a one-game edge in the Series. "We ran into a buzz saw," said Giants first baseman Will Clark, of Stewart's pitching.

Game two was also in Oakland and in front of another sell out crowd. The Athletics threw out their number two starting pitcher Mike Moore as he faced off against the Giants Rick Reuschel.

Oakland got off to a fast start; Rickey Henderson led off the bottom of the first with a walk. Henderson promptly stole second, and scored one pitch later when Carney Lansford hit a double to right field. The Giants scored their first run of the Series in the top of the third; José Uribe reached first on a fielder's choice, advanced to third via a Brett Butler single, and scored on a Robby Thompson fly ball.

The A's regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Dave Parker drove a line shot off the wall that was both an inch from being foul and an inch from being a home run. Jose Canseco, who drew a walk earlier that inning, scored on the play. Parker stood at the plate for a moment to watch the flight of the ball, and started to run as soon as the ball hit the wall; Giants right fielder Candy Maldonado appeared to throw Parker out at second, but second base umpire Dutch Rennert called Parker safe. After Dave Henderson walked and Mark McGwire struck out, Terry Steinbach hit a three-run home run off Reuschel to left field, scoring both Parker and Henderson. The Giants had no answer for Oakland's relievers, and the A's won 5–1 and took a 2–0 lead in the Series.

During a pre-game interview on ABC, Oakland Athletics manager Tony LaRussa mentioned that he thought that Terry Steinbach was going to hit a home run, which he did in the fourth inning, forcing Reuschel to leave the game, and the Giants to dig deep into their bullpen.

Just as the two Bay Area teams were getting ready for Game 3 in San Francisco the Loma Prieta earthquake hit.

The Loma Prieta earthquake struck on October 17, 1989 at 5:04 p.m. Game 3 was scheduled to start at 5:35 p.m. at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, and thousands of people were already in the stadium when the quake occurred. 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 Series as a lucky break that prevented massive loss of life in the city; key in reducing the loss of life was the fact that many people had left work early or were staying late to participate in after-work group viewings and parties, reducing the traffic that would otherwise have been on the collapsed freeways (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 Goodyear Blimp that had been covering the game was used to coordinate emergency efforts.

At the time the earthquake hit, the announcing team for ABC Sports, Tim McCarver, Al Michaels, and Jim Palmer immediately grabbed what they perceived to be the armrests; it turned out that they grabbed each others' thighs, leaving each of them with bruises; recounting this incident years later, Michaels would boldly admit his strong belief that had the earthquake lasted much longer than 15 seconds, he would have been killed. The ABC Sports team remained in their broadcast booth and appeared composed once a backup generator restored power. By contrast, the broadcasting team in the CBS Radio booth next door, consisting of Jack Buck, Johnny Bench, and John Rooney, ran out as soon as the earthquake started. Bench ran to a spot underneath a steel grate, to which Buck quipped, "If you would have moved that fast when you played, you wouldn't have hit into so many double plays." The ESPN live coverage of the Series (ESPN and ABC at the time produced separate broadcasts) was interrupted during then-television analyst Joe Torre's pre-game report on the field. Their equipment van was the only one with a generator, and they continued their live coverage with Chris Berman and Bob Ley. Separately from the broadcast, Peter Gammons and Oakland Athletics pitcher Bob Welch were walking by Marina Middle School in order to get a residency pass when they spotted a slightly unshaven man with a white wind-breaker waiting in line for his pass, who turned out to be Joe DiMaggio, who was concerned over the status of his sister, Louise. Gammons shared this story during a 1999 Sports Center Flashback special chronicling the 1989 World Series.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, ABC aired a rerun of Roseanne (and later, The Wonder Years) before Ted Koppel began anchoring 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. The ABC opening for this 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.

As for the Series itself, Fay Vincent decided to postpone Game 3 (although he didn't tell anyone before doing so, resulting in an umpire protest) initially for five days, resulting in the longest delay in World Series history. It was postponed for another five days (until October 27) because of delays in restoring transmission links. Then San Francisco mayor Art Agnos wanted to wait a month before resuming it, with Vincent responding to Agnos by telling him that he might move it elsewhere if the delay would be that long.

Players for the Oakland Athletics returned home, but had to travel via San Jose, adding an extra 90 minutes because some roadway sections of the Bay Bridge had collapsed. Not long after returning, Jose Canseco (still in full uniform) and his wife Esther were spotted filling up their car at a self-service gas station. As noted in his later book Juiced, Canseco noted that someone wrote an article portraying him as forcing his wife to pump the gas, but that in reality, she told him to let her do it because if people saw him in his full uniform, it would cause a scene.

After rescheduling Game 3, to Oct. 27 the two teams were ready to do battle back in San Francisco. But with the long delay the Athletics were able to put Stewart, their Game 1 started back on the mound.

At the start of Game 3, some emergency responders who had aided during the earthquake, including police officers and firefighters, were honored and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Dave "Hendu" Henderson just missed hitting three home runs for the A's as his first inning shot bounced off the top of the wall for a double.

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. His teammate Matt Williams noticed him wobbling when the earthquake started. Apparently, he was looking in the stands 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, Robinson, who told Maldonado that he sensed that an earthquake was occurring.

This game set a record for most combined home runs hit in a World Series game with seven, as well as tying a record for most home runs hit by a single team, five, in a World Series game (the New York Yankees won Game 4 of the 1928 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, which like this series, would end in a sweep).

Up three games to none the Oakland Athletics threw out their Game 2 starter in Mike Moore to finish off the sweep of the Bay Area rivals the San Francisco Giants.

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 has since been topped by the terrorism-delayed 2001 World Series which ran from October 27 through November 4 and the 2009 World Series which ran from October 28 through November 4 as regularly scheduled.) The World Series now regularly ends around this time because there is an extra round of playoffs. After Nell Carter sang the National Anthem, Willie Mays threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The A's led from the first batter of the game on as Rickey Henderson's leadoff home run set the tone. Kevin Mitchell's homer would bring the Giants closer as they cut an 8–0 deficit to 8–6 in two innings. But it would prove to be too little too late for San Francisco as they would lose 9–6.

This was also Candlestick Park's final World Series game. The Giants' three subsequent National League pennants have come since their move to AT&T Park, in 2002, 2010 and 2012.

Out of respect for the Loma Prieta earthquake victims, the Oakland Athletics chose not to celebrate their World Series victory with champagne, as is normally customary for the winning team in the World Series.

The 1989 World Series title was the most recent for the Oakland franchise. The Giants have had more recent success winning the 2010 World Series over the Texas Rangers and the 2012 World Series over the Detroit Tigers in a sweep.