Skip to content

Must-click link: an oral history of the 1989 World Series earthquake

Oct 23, 2013, 5:14 PM EDT

World Series earthquake

Technically it’s the Loma Prieta earthquake, but it will always be associated with the World Series for folks like you and me.  Today Grantland has an oral history of the quake from writers, fans, ballplayers, geologists, and a number of others, all talking about the before, the during and the after of one of America’s most infamous natural disasters.

[Larry] Gatlin: I’m standing in the coach’s box with Mike Lupica. We’re just bullsh***ing. A 747 comes right over Candlestick Park. The ground starts shaking. Lupy looks at me and says, “A 747 ain’t supposed to make the ground shake like that.” I said, “That ain’t a 747. We’re in one!”

Some oral histories are lame. This one is the polar opposite of lame. It’s a must-read.

  1. jhaegs - Oct 23, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    I bet you have a pretty extensive “oral history”, Craig…

  2. robmoore - Oct 23, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    I was 10 miles from the epicenter of the quake when it hit and it was one of the weirder experiences of my life… I had attended a game in the Championship Series between the Cubs and Giants that year at Candlestick as well.

  3. sdelmonte - Oct 23, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Wow. When those Grantland boys hit one out, it goes far.

    • tgthree - Oct 23, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      Except that one of the writers, Patricia Lee, is, in fact, not a boy.

      • sdelmonte - Oct 23, 2013 at 7:19 PM

        My apologies to her. Wasn’t looking at the article when I was typing. Hard to do both on a smartphone.

  4. nfieldr - Oct 23, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Left work a little to get home to see the game that day. My wife and I were on BART at an underground station in Oakland when it hit. I had tickets to Game 4 and it was weird seeing some of the damage to Candlestick. For 6 months after the quake, everytime that you saw someone that you hadn’t seen in a while, you had to tell each other your “earthquake stories”

  5. hojo20 - Oct 23, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Nice story, but they should’ve saved for 2014…..25th anniversary.

  6. johnnysoda - Oct 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Great read. Thanks for sharing, Craig.

  7. normcash - Oct 23, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    I was seated in the upper deck about 10 rows from the back and about even with the
    left field foul pole. I wasn’t really scared until, after the quake stopped, I looked up and noticed the light standards swaying severely. Then, somebody in the crowd with a portable radio said,
    “Oh my God, they just said the Bay Bridge collapsed!” Then I got scared….

  8. jlovenotjlo - Oct 23, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    How about the worker up on the poles untangling windsocks, got so scared he puked off the top!

  9. sportsdrenched - Oct 24, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Excellent Find.

  10. sometimesimisscandlestick - Oct 24, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    My first world series game I ever went to was game four of the ’89 series, and I was only able to go to it because of the quake. Friends of my family that had tickets couldn’t make the rescheduled game. I’ll always remember watching the pre game and Al Michaels saying, “I think we are having an earth…” and the signal fading.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Jackie Robinson Day is bittersweet
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. T. Wood (6647)
  2. J. Kubel (5902)
  3. I. Nova (5024)
  4. S. Kazmir (4713)
  5. K. Uehara (4030)
  1. M. Moore (3889)
  2. Z. Britton (3564)
  3. J. Johnson (3522)
  4. T. Walker (3486)
  5. J. Chavez (3197)