Scrapbook Memories celebrates the 20th anniversary of Oakland's last World Series triumph. Since the day they set foot in Arizona some seven months prior, the A's mission for 1989 was clear; a wildly successful 1988 season had ended with a thud, leaving a sour taste in their collective mouths, and a sense of unfinished business. After disposing of the Toronto Blue Jays in five hard-fought games, the A's allowed a single run to the San Francisco Giants in the first two World Series contests, putting them two victories from being crowned champions for the first time since 1974.
Just when it seemed there was nothing to derail Oakland's date with destiny, a massive earthquake shook the Bay Area a few minutes from the commencement of Game 3. While the region healed, baseball took its proper place. It would be a full ten days before the teams would again take the field at Candlestick Park. Prior to 1989, the longest delay in World Series play was six days. That was in 1911, and the participants were the (Philadelphia) A's and (New York) Giants.
ABC's Al Michaels, as told to a nationwide audience before Game 3, Part 2 (you can read the first part here):
"...And now on October 27, like a fighter who's taken a vicious blow to the stomach and has groggily arisen, this region moves on and moves ahead."
"And one part of that scenario is the resumption of the World Series. No one in this ballpark tonight- no player, no vendor, no fan, no writer, no announcer, in fact, no one in this area period- can forger the images. The column of smoke in the Marina. The severed bridge. The grotesque tangle of concrete in Oakland. The pictures are embedded in our minds."
"And while the mourning and the suffering and the aftereffects will continue, in about thirty minutes the plate umpire, Vic Voltaggio will say ‘Play Ball', and the players will play, the vendors will sell, the announcers will announce, the crowd will exhort. And for many of the six million people in this region, it will be like revisiting Fantasyland."
"But Fantasyland is where baseball comes from anyway and maybe right about now that's the perfect place for a three-hour rest."
Oakland manager Tony La Russa had kept his players' eyes on the prize by flying them to Phoenix for two days of workouts, but clearly there was a wide array of emotions (excerpt from "Three Weeks in October"):
"We showed up in Arizona and there were all these people in the stands. That really touched me. It's like somebody was saying, ‘Baseball is great. Baseball means something.' When the day was over, I felt this tugging," he said, pointing to his heart. "I had some positive vibes, but then I had another tug. A different kind. I was embarrassed. I mean, aren't we supposed to feel guilty? It confused the hell out of me. When I drive by 880, I feel a lot of emotion. Then about 10 miles down the road I'm getting full of myself. And I start feeling guilty again."
La Russa said he would tell his team before Game 3: "Be honest. If you feel good, you deserve to feel good. They're calling this the forgotten World Series, but if you play well in this situation, it will have more meaning than any other World Series that has come before. Nobody's ever been asked to do this."
As I recall it, when I left work with my brother John that October 27, at the same time as we did ten days before, there was a general uneasiness going home. Like, can it really happen again? The entire family gathered at Mom's for this one; with some of us attending the games in Oakland, this was the first time we were able to take in a World Series contest together. Inside Candlestick Park, there was a festive mood, like "Now where were we?" The earthquake had brought this region, hardly antagonistic to begin with, even closer. All that was needed was for the A's to actually show up. Steve Wulf, Sports Illustrated:
By the time the Series resumed, it was permissible to joke a little about the circumstances. The Battle of the Bay had become the Rattle of the Bay, and Candlestick Park was dubbed Wiggly Field by columnist Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle. Early arrivals checked out the park, and the only thing they could find awry was that the A's were missing. The team bus had been stuck in traffic on the San Mateo Bridge - the alternate route they had to take because of the damage to the Bay Bridge - and they arrived at Candlestick nearly an hour late for batting practice. "I wasn't worried," said first baseman Mark McGwire. "I'm from Southern California, so I find traffic relaxing. Besides, they weren't going to start the game without us."
The Giants might have had a chance if they did start without them. If the Series' competitive fire had been reduced to a flicker during the layoff, it took just three batters for it to light up again. Scott Garrelts twice threw high-and-tight to Jose Canseco, who was upset enough about being mired in a 0-for-23 Series skid (dating back to Game 1 of the previous season). And so the Giant woke up the giant; the slumbering, slumping Canseco, who promptly singled past the shortstop.
Then it was Dave Henderson's turn, who hit what we all thought was a home run (including Hendu, who did his little homer hop) but instead it hit off the top of the fence for a two-run double (Carney Lansford had singled ahead of Canseco). Just like that, the A's were on top.
Rickey Henderson, who had a subpar game- well, for him- in Game 3 (1-for-5, 1 run scored), did find time to double to lead off the third, and swipe third base, his record eleventh steal of these playoffs.
In the top of the fourth, Hendu led off with a shot that did clear the fence and two batters later, Tony Phillips joined the bashers with a blast of his own. Exit Garrelts, after allowing four runs on six hits in 3.1 innings of work.
The Giants came back with two runs in the bottom half to close within 4-3, but Mark McGwire kept Oakland in front with a diving stop at first and a flip to starter Dave Stewart. Then the A's put the game out of reach with four in the fifth, the first three coming when Canseco took Kelly Downs downtown and the last one coming on Hendu's second home run of the night.
Carney Lansford's home run with two outs in the sixth gave the A's five big flies on the night; not since the 1928 New York Yankees had a ball club put on such a power display in the World Series. It was Lansford (3-for-4, 4 runs, 2 RBI's), Canseco (3-for-5, 3 runs, 3 RBI's), and of course, Dave Henderson (3-for-4, 2 runs, 4 RBI's) who swung the biggest bats in Game 3.
Almost lost amid the parade of elephants was Dave Stewart, who was his usual stellar self. Already idolized within the community for his efforts on the field, the St. Elizabeth High grad turned in his A's cap for a hard hat during the layoff, pitching in wherever he might be needed. When La Russa looked to him in Game 3, Stew simply pitched: seven innings, five hits, three runs, one walk, eight strikeouts. Winner of 62 regular-season games from 1987-89, Stew became the first man in history to record two victories in both the League Championship Series and World Series in the same year.
The A's, as a unit, earned straight A's this evening, tacking on four more runs in the eighth and steamrolling to a 13-7 win.