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On This Date in Sports October 28, 1989

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The Oakland Athletics sweep the San Francisco Giants, winning 9-6 in Game 4 of a World Series, that was interrupted ten days by an earthquake. The series started as a celebration of baseball in the Bay Area. However, just before Game 3 on October 17th, the Bay Area was hit by a massive quake, causing widespread damage. When the series resumed, the A’s continued their dominance leading to a four-game sweep.


For the Oakland Athletics managed by Tony La Russa, it was their second straight trip to the Fall Classic. After an upset loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988, the Athletics again won the Western Division with a record of 99-63. Jose Canseco spent half the season on the disabled list, but the A’s got a big boost when they reacquired Rickey Henderson from the New York Yankees in June. Henderson would win the ALCS as the Athletics beat out the Toronto Blue Jays in five games in the ALCS.

The San Francisco Giants managed by Roger Craig meanwhile were making their first World Series appearance since 1962. The Giants edged the San Diego Padres to win the National League West with a record of 92-70. The Giants were helped by an MVP season from Kevin Mitchell. In the NLCS, they took out the Chicago Cubs in five games, as the first postseason night games were held at Wrigley Field as Will Clark was named NLCS MVP.

The Bay Area World Series began at Oakland Alameda County Coliseum on October 14th. Dave Stewart made the start for Oakland, while Scott Garrelts started for the Giants. Stewart, on the way to winning World Series MVP, dominated the Giants, allowing just five hits while striking out six in a complete-game shutout. In the second inning, the A’s got three runs on hits by Tony Phillips and Rickey Henderson. Oakland would later get home runs from Dave Parker and Walt Weiss on the way to a 5-0 win.

In Game 2, the Giants had Rick Reuschel making the start against Mike Moore. Oakland again took an early lead as Carney Lansford doubled home Rickey Henderson in the first. The Giants finally broke through in the third to tie the game. However, in the fourth, the Athletics put up a four-spot as Dave Parker had an RBI double, and Terry Steinbach hit a three-run blast. It would be all the scoring on the night as the Athletics won 5-1.


Game 3 was set to be played at Candlestick Park on October 17th. Despite being down 2-0, there was a buzz of anticipation as Bob Welch was set to get the for Oakland and Don Robinson the start for the Giants. Moments before pregame ceremonies were going to start and while ABC was running highlights of Game 2, there came a rumble. That rumble turned out to be a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that would cause widespread damage. As the dust settled and ABC got back on the air, the blimp that was to cover the World Series was now being used to survey the damage. Fires in the marina district of San Francisco, a section of the bay bridge that connected the two cities had fallen, and worst of all, a stretch of double-decker highway in Oakland had collapsed. When all was said and done, 63 people were killed, while 3,757 people were injured. There was over $5.6 billion in damage as the quake became one of the costliest in the history of the United States. Some say that the World Series likely saved lives, as people left work early and were not on the stretch of highway that collapsed. As it was clear the earthquake had caused damage, Commissioner Fay Vincent made the easy choice to postpone Game 3. Initially, the series was to resume after five days, but as it took longer to clear the roads and assure the structural stability of Candlestick Park, it ended up with a ten-day delay.

When the series resumed on October 27th, rescue workers were honored as the rest of the World Series was set to be played in tribute to those who lost their lives in the earthquake. It almost felt as though it was a World Series restart as the same pitchers from Game 1 got the start. The Athletics got to Garrelts early as Dave Henderson had a two-run double in the first inning. Matt Williams put the Giants on the board with a home run in the third, but Oakland answered in the third as Dave Henderson and Tony Phillips homered to make it 4-1. Terry Kennedy drove in two runs in the bottom of the inning to keep San Francisco in the game. However, Jose Canseco broke the game open with a three-run shot in the fifth as Dave Henderson homered again to make the score 8-3. Carney Lansford added a home run in the sixth, while Oakland added four more runs in the eighth to eventually build a 13-3 lead. In the ninth, the Giants scored four runs, thanks in part to a three-run home run by Bill Bathe, but Oakland was clearly in command with a 13-7 victory.


Looking for the sweep, the A’s sent Mike Moore to the mound while Don Robinson started for the Giants. It was Oakland’s day again as Rickey Henderson led off with a home run. In the second, the Athletics added three more runs, as Moore doubled home a pair, and scored on a single by Rickey Henderson. In the fifth inning, the Athletics extended the lead to 7-0 as Terry Steinbach had a two-run double and later scored on a Tony Phillips double. One inning later, Henderson had a triple and scored on a single by Lansford to give Oakland an 8-0 advantage. The Giants would fight back as Kevin Mitchell had a two-run shot in the sixth. In the seventh, they added four more sparked by a two-run homer from Greg Litton. However, Steve Bedrosian issued a bases-loaded walk in the eighth as Oakland had Dennis Eckersley on the mound with a 9-6 lead. In the ninth, Eck retired the Giants in order, beating Brett Butler to the first base bag to end the series.