In 1989, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's were set to start Game 3 of the World Series at Candlestick Park when a size-7 earthquake rocked the Bay Area. The television broadcast cut out, freeways and bridges collapsed, homes were crushed and the city went dark.
Over at Grantland, Bryan Curtis and Patricia Lee have published an encompassing oral history of the '89 series. "Rocked" includes quotes from players, fans, journalists, the Mayor of San Francisco at the time, and pretty much everyone else that could have been affected by the quake and its aftermath.
Like everything on Grantland, the piece is long and sprawling, with multiple YouTube clips that run some five minutes each. But, for all of its girth, the piece does an excellent job holding your hand through the ceremony prior to Game 3, the terror, uncertainty, and panic during the actual quake, the frantic moments, hours, and days that followed, and the inevitable return of baseball and customary sweep that came with it.
If you've got half an hour of time burning a hole in your life this afternoon, spend it with Bryan Curtis and Patricia Lee. [Grantland]
Chris Myers, reporter, ESPN: This was not people pushing and shoving and stepping over each other to get out. It was very orderly. It was like those fire drills in schools.
Hildy Bernstein, fan, Noah Graham's mom: We were one of the first 20 people out of Candlestick. All there was was an emergency. "They just closed the 101 … they just closed the 280 … they just closed the 17." We were just in front of all those closures. We stopped at the beach. My son has to pee. There's a state patrolman there with a big megaphone. He says, "Get back in your car, there's a tsunami watch." I'm like, Tsunami watch?!
Art Agnos, mayor of San Francisco: The first thing I did was get in an FBI helicopter in order to get a sense of what was going on. From the air, I could see that the entire city was blacked out except for a couple of fires, with the worst one being in the Marina. That one got a lot of attention in the mass media, and that's the only time I really felt fear, because of how large it was.
Oberkfell: We got flashlights to go into the clubhouse, and we at least grabbed our clothes. Most people went home with their jerseys on.
Craig: Some fellow saw me in my uniform and said, "Mr. Craig, how about a shot of wine?" I said, "No, I have to get out of here." But I took a little mini-sip and gave the bottle back to him.
Purdy: I remember interviewing Robby Thompson, the Giants second baseman, a really good guy. Three fans come up to Robby and ask, "Can I have your autograph?" This big disaster has just happened. Robby looks at 'em like, Really? Really?
Busfield: As I left, a guy came up to me with a chunk of cement and had me sign it. It was the size of, like, a football helmet.
Costa: You have 60,000 people in a stadium on a cul-de-sac isolated on a peninsula. You still have the pregame traffic coming in, and now you have to get that flipped around for people to get out. That's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in a pro sports stadium.