The 1989 A’s were something special.
They were crowned World Series champions after defeating the Giants in four games that bookended the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake. Oakland also finished the regular season with a 99-63 record. And for Tony La Russa, the team’s manager at the time, he dubbed it the best Bay Area championship team ever.
“I’m a great believer in not disrespecting anybody, whether it’s a great 49er team, or the Warriors, or the Giants, but there isn’t any team that would be better than the ‘89 A’s,” La Russa said in a recent interview with 95.7 The Game. “Because they were absolutely complete in every way. Not just talented checking every box, but also in their attitude about teammates playing hard, playing tough.”
NBC Sports Bay Area asked fans last week to vote for the best Bay Area dynasty of all time. While the mid-1970s A's team was included, the late-1980s A's were not.
The ultimate Battle of the Bay 🔥 pic.twitter.com/OrtU3Wcizi— NBCSAuthentic (@NBCSAuthentic) April 2, 2020
Still, the 1989 A's were pretty good.
Mark McGwire was 25 years old and hit a team-leading 33 home runs that season with infielder Carney Lansford hitting a .336/.398/.405 line with 185 hits.
This team also had Dave Henderson and Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson roaming the outfield. Rickey would end the season leading the league with 77 swiped bags. World Series MVP Dave Stewart was a dominant starter. Out of the bullpen, Dennis Eckersley collected 33 saves on the season, boasting a 1.56 ERA.
“So, the ‘89 team had, not only was it a really good team, almost great, but once you added Rickey, then we became truly great, and we added Mike Moore, which added an outstanding starting pitcher to the rotation, but it had something else man, it had a fever going,” La Russa said.
La Russa named every aspect of the team that brought them back to the Fall Classic that season. The infield, the outfield, the pitching staff, and of course, the coaches.
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The team also possessed the perfect balance of rookie and veterans to get to the big stage and win it all.
“It was the perfect team,” he said.