OCTOBER 17, 1989 | SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – Broadcaster Al Michaels was frantic as ABC lost its signal just before game 3 of the 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s. Rain, sometimes snow, has been known to interrupt post-season play. This time the San Francisco earthquake of 1989 brought all activity in Candlestick Park, other than self-preservation, to a screeching halt, because, as Michaels’ said off-camera, “I’ll tell ya what. We’re having an earth…”. He was unable to get out “quake” before he was cut-off.
Millions watching the broadcast saw highlights of the previous game being described by announcer Tim McCarver when all of the sudden the picture sizzled and the broadcast signal was lost.
Candlestick Park, with 62,000 people inside, bent – fans felt the stands move and the light standards sway several feet – but did not break. There was catastrophic damage in other parts of the Bay Area; a section of the double deck Nimitz Freeway collapsed, as did part of the Bay Bridge. There were multiple explosions and fires in the Mission District of San Francisco. Sixty-three deaths and almost 4,000 injuries were reportedly caused by the earthquake.
The World Series, coincidentally involving the two Bay Area teams, was postponed for ten days, because, “I’ll tell ya what… we’re having an earth-“. The A’s eventually swept the Giants in four games.
Oakland A’s post season
1960 | SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – The first major league baseball game to take place in San Francisco was played on this date in 1960. The Giants new home, Candlestick Park, was beautiful, but the location was simply not a suitable place to build a ballpark. Unfortunately, New York Giants owner Horace Stoneham didn’t know that when he toured the site on a beautiful day in 1957.
San Francisco Mayor George Christopher promised that the city would build a ballpark at Candlestick Point if Stoneham would make his New York Giants the first tenants. What Stoneham didn’t know, and presumably Mayor Christopher didn’t volunteer, was that the sun isn’t the only thing that goes down at sunset.
The temperature plummets too, and the fog rolls in. This made for some interesting events at Candlestick. For example, during the 1961 All Star game, Giants pitcher Stu Miller was blown off the mound. In 1963, New York Mets Manager Casey Stengel took his squad out for batting practice, only to watch a gust of wind pick up the entire batting cage and drop it on the pitcher’s mound, 60 feet away. The most memorable phenomenon was an earthquake during the 1989 World Series, but the stadium weathered that event quite well.
The Giants moved to a much better location in 2000, Pac Bell Park, which is now called AT&T Park. And attendance has been phenomenal. The San Francisco 49ers still call Candlestick Park home, though the weather seems to be more tolerable in the fall and winter.
JANUARY 27, 1956 & 66 | NEW YORK, NEW YORK & MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN • Today in baseball history provided hints of impending franchise moves. On January 27, 1956 the New York football Giants announced they would desert the Polo Grounds for Yankee Stadium for the upcoming season. This added to speculation that the baseball Giants wouldn’t be long for the Polo Grounds either.
The Associated Press reported that the baseball Giants were contemplating a “move across the Harlem River” to Yankee Stadium by 1957. The baseball team ended up moving in 1958, but across the country to San Francisco, where they remain to this day.
Ten years later on this date in 1966 the City of Milwaukee was trying to get the Braves back from Atlanta. The team hadn’t played any games in Georgia yet, but they’d already left Wisconsin. On January 27, 1966 Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge Elmer Roller stopped just short of ordering the league to expand to Milwaukee or bring the Braves back. He instructed that Major League Baseball should do everything “within their scope” to get a team in Milwaukee.
As it turned out, the Braves stayed in Atlanta. The American League franchise Seattle Pilots left Puget Sound for Milwaukee in 1970 and changed their name to the Brewers. And the Polo Grounds in New York was demolished in 1964.
Chicago Tribune, Judge Orders NL: Stay in Milwaukee, January 28, 1966
United Press International, January 28, 1966
Associated Press, January 28, 1956
New York/San Francisco Giants history