Earthquake rocks in San Francisco, the third game of the World Series – Maine Campus has been canceled


On October 17, 1989, one of the most unexpectedly tragic moments in sports history occurred at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. During Game 3 of the 1989 World Championships between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake originating from the San Andreas Fault shook the ground below the summit of Loma Prieta. The earthquake bore the same nickname for the peak from which it emanated, and sent shock waves up San Diego and parts of western Nevada. When all was said and done, 63 people lost their lives, and 3,757 others were reported injured across the Bay Area as a result of the disaster.

Game three itself was scheduled for 1st court at 5:35 p.m., with the Giants looking to erase the 2-0 series deficit early. Dave Stewart was scheduled to start on the mound for an A, with Scott Garrilets versus Stewart and starts for the Giants. Members of broadcast crews stationed in and around the stadium began their pre-game shows, with Al Michaels and the ABC team taking the highlight of the day. While playing a premium package from the second game, the stream became choppy, and Viewers at home were able to hear Michaels’ reaction to the earthquake:

I tell you what, we have land…,” Michaels said, before cutting the fodder.

While the earthquake itself only lasted 17 seconds, the damage was evident. The earthquake resulted in nearly $6 billion in damages, with damages ranging across the stricken area. Besides the already heavy loss of life, the earthquake turned a quiet afternoon into a hell on earth for the inhabitants of the bay. A Goodyear-sponsored blimp that hovered overhead to collect aerial footage of the game’s national television broadcast soon became a means of coordinating search and rescue efforts and documenting the large-scale carnage caused by the earthquake in the coastal city.

The Cypress Street Bridge in Auckland has been the site of the majority of deaths, with 42 people dying from Structural failure of the bridge. Thanks in large part to when the game started, many people haven’t left work yet or left early to watch the game. As a result, the roads were less crowded during the afternoon rush hour than they used to be, inadvertently saving countless lives.

Back in Candlestick Park, fans and players retreated to safety as Major League Baseball Commissioner Faye Vincent announced to the PA system that the game had been postponed, and for fans to leave the field in an orderly fashion. One of the most famous photos from that day came on the account of Terry Steinbach and his wife, where a shot of an athletics fisherman comforting his crying wife in diamonds was plastered on plaster in newspapers across the country.

The devastation outside Candlestick Park was immediately noticeable, and as fans returned home, traversing an environment devastated by the power of the Earth, the sport quickly took a back seat to the real-life drama unfolding before their eyes.

The World Championships was postponed another ten days, and resumed again on October 27, 1989. The third game was played at Candlestick Park once the power and television communications lines were re-established and Vincent deemed the stadium safe to run again. While the Giants lost games three and four, falling to athletics in a sweep, the destruction and timing of the Loma Prieta earthquake puts it in the annals of history as one of the few times when extenuating circumstances truly took precedence over a massive sporting event.


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