The Day The World Series Stopped

Sports Illustrated 1989

On October 17, 1989, the San Francisco Bay Area was fired up for an epic World Series match up between its two local teams, the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants. 62,000 sports fans packed Candlestick Park for Game 3 to see if the A’s would be able to maintain the 2-0 lead it had over the Giants.

The game was scheduled to start at 5:35pm, but mere minutes earlier at 5:04pm, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck. Due to all the fanfare and media coverage surrounding the game, journalists from ABC were able to capture and broadcast the earthquake as it was happening on live television. Many experts  credit the timing of the Series as a lucky break that may have prevented a larger loss of life in the city because rush hour traffic on collapsed freeways were lighter than normal. Several of the Bay Area’s major transportation structures suffered catastrophic damages estimated at $6 billion.

Loma-Prieta-earthquakeCollapsed double-decker freeway in Oakland, California after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

The quake lasted about 15-20 seconds, but for those who witnessed it, it felt much longer than that. Sixty-three lives were lost, and 3,757 people were injured in this unfortunate event.

When the Oakland A’s eventually went on to win the World Series, they were careful to stay respectful during their celebration. As a team, they decided not to hold a parade nor use champagne in their locker room celebration as to honor the victims of the tragedies.

This past Tuesday, a new ESPN “30 for 30″ documentary called “The Day the Series Stopped” aired on TV commemorating the events of the 1989 World Series. 

Check out the trailer below:

Twenty five years later, the words of Giants center fielder Brett Butler still ring true, “The lasting memories of this Series will be the earthquake, not the games, not the World Series winner, nothing but the earthquake.”

Our hearts go out to the victims of this unfortunate tragedy. On the anniversary of the Day the World Series Stopped, share your memories of that day in our comments section below or in an Everlasting Footprint for a loved one.

About Tiffany Qua

Social Media Manager Tiffany Qua, MA, specializes in content strategy, digital marketing, and social media campaigns. A graduate of Columbia University and John Hopkins University, Tiffany and her husband live in NYC.

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