Editor's Note: Watch Games 1 through 4 of the 1989 World Series between the Giants and A's this week at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports California and streaming here, beginning Monday and wrapping up Thursday.
The A’s famously dominated the 1989 World Series, sweeping the Giants in four games.
Oakland was the heavy favorite, and ultimately delivered an outcome most expected.
But if there was a way for San Francisco to have pulled off an upset -- how would it have been accomplished?
“The one thing that they would have had to figure out, is how to hit the forkball,” former A's catcher Terry Steinbach told NBC Sports California via FaceTime on Friday.
“Dave Stewart, Game 1, good forkball pitcher. Mike Moore, Game 2, again, forkball guy. For whatever reason that particular series, they had a hard time adapting to that particular pitch.”
The A’s were stereotypically known as a slugging team and didn’t disappoint in the Fall Classic, tallying 32 runs in four games.
But the A's pitching, especially their bullpen, is what stifled the Giants.
“Players that played against us, their attitude was like ‘Holy cow, if we get to the sixth inning and we’re behind … forget it,' ” Steinbach said.
“We had [Rick] Honeycutt, the specialty left-handed guy, Gene Nelson the power pitching righty, and once we got to [Dennis] Eckersley, forget it. The game was over.”
Resignation from the opposition was a common sentiment Steinbach sensed from opposing teams in 1989.
“It was amazing how they didn’t want to play us," Steinbach said. "Even a regular-season game. They knew with the offense we had, but also the pitching we had that it wasn’t going to be a fun series for a lot of teams.”
[RELATED: 1989 A's best Bay Area team ever?]
Oakland felt especially confident in facing a familiar San Francisco group, beginning with spring training that season. The A's and Giants were two of only eight MLB teams that squared off against each other in Arizona that year.
“We played the Giants a lot in spring training, we also had the Bay Bridge [exhibition] Series,” Steinbach said. “We were roughly around 19-0, or 18-1 against them counting those games. When we found out we were playing them [in the World Series], we were familiar with them, is a great way to put it.”
Steinbach was an All-Star in 1989, caught all four games of the World Series and had seven RBI against San Francisco.