Programming Note: Watch all four games of the 1989 World Series between the Giants and A's this week at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports California and streaming here, continuing Tuesday and wrapping up Thursday.
Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire famously became Oakland’s “Bash Brothers” in the late 1980’s.
And even though their teammate Carney Lansford still isn’t entirely certain of the origins of the congratulatory “Bash,” he too was a frequent connecter of forearms.
“The story that I had heard was Mark and Jose were sitting around one day, both had big arms obviously,” Lansford told NBC Sports California. “They’d compare forearms, and then they came up with this bash thing … it just kind of took off like that.”
With a power-stacked middle of the A’s lineup, there was a lot of celebrating at home plate following home runs. But it didn’t always go over well with the manager.
“I don’t think that Tony [La Russa] really liked that,” Lansford said. “They used to play that song the ‘Monster Mash’ after a home run … Tony had them stop playing that because he thought guys were going up trying to hit home runs too much.”
But it wasn’t just the dingers that fueled Oakland’s offense.
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With Rickey Henderson’s on-base prowess leading off, Lansford’s ability to hit for average, followed by Canseco’s power in the three-spot, the A’s often scored a run before sending up their clean-up hitter.
Lansford recalled a conversation he had with Giants catcher Terry Kennedy during the 1989 World Series, immediately after Rickey Henderson reached first base.
“He [Kennedy] is going ‘Just take it, I know you’re going to steal it anyways, just take it.’ Sure enough, the next pitch Rickey stole second base,” Lansford said. “My job most of the time was to move Rickey from second to third, so Jose could drive him in with a sacrifice fly or a base hit.”
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The A’s were highly motivated to finish the job in 1989 against any opponent, after unceremoniously falling to the Dodgers in 1988.
“Whoever we played that year in the World Series was going to pay the price, for us losing the year before,” Lansford said.
Oakland scored 32 runs in the four game sweep against San Francisco, and never once trailed the Giants on the scoreboard.