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 Wednesday and wrapping up Thursday.
In Northern California, dates don’t get more significant than October 17, 1989.
Just moments before Game 3 of MLB’s World Series was to get underway in San Francisco, the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake struck at 5:04pm.
Departing Candlestick Park that night feels like yesterday for Oakland native Dave Stewart, who was still wearing his full A’s road uniform out the door.
“I got in the car, knew we couldn’t go across the Bay Bridge,” Stewart said. “I was actually surprised we couldn’t go across the San Mateo Bridge. We had to circle all the way down to the Dumbarton.”
In total, it was a six-hour trek from San Francisco to Emeryville. He got off the freeway in Hayward and took surface streets northbound through Oakland, to get a first-hand account of the destroyed Cypress structure.
The pancaked portion of Interstate 880’s double-deck structure in West Oakland became a signature visual of the devastation.
“I could see from the street, that the freeway had collapsed,” Stewart recalled. “I got out of the car, and where my sister lived was pretty much where everything was happening, with the police officers and fire department. People that were trying to bring relief.”
Stewart stayed on location, still in his A’s uniform, figuring out how he could be of help. After a pit-stop at home several hours later, the eventual World Series MVP realized returning with food and drinks for the first responders would be his calling.
“That ended up being my mission until we went to Arizona,” Stewart said.
Stewart eventually went to bed around 10 a.m. the next morning. Several days later when MLB announced the World Series would ultimately be resumed and completed, A’s Manager Tony LaRussa took his team to Arizona.
“We went there to get our minds focused on baseball,” Stewart shared. “To make sure that we stayed in baseball shape. Pitchers and hitting with the timing, we played simulated games. It was competitive.”
That competition not only kept the A’s sharp, but it also brought them closer during a time of adversity and uncertainty across the Bay Area.
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“Difficult as it was with everything going on at home, you don’t want to lose your edge,” Stewart said. “You don’t want to give up your edge.”
The A’s certainly didn’t, sweeping San Francisco in four games.