When the A’s finished off their sweep of the Giants on October 28, Kim Boatman of the San Jose Mercury News was there to cover the action:
“Finally, after a season that stretched next to forever, the A’s claimed what they believed was supposed to be theirs in 1988. They held the Giants at bay 9-6 to complete a tidy four- game sweep and win the 1989 World Series.
This Series will be linked forever with the tragedy that accompanied the Oct. 17 earthquake and remembered for the nine days baseball was put on hold. And the A’s paid their respects to the Bay Area by sipping beer instead of spraying champagne after the game.
But nothing could diminish their exultation, which began after Tony Phillips scooped up Brett Butler’s ball after it glanced off Mark McGwire’s glove, flipping to reliever Dennis Eckersley at first to end the game.
Long after the game had ended, Eckersley was hanging onto the glove and ball and the sheer exhilaration of the moment.
”I just started thinking to myself before the last guy got up, ‘This is the out we’ve been waiting for. And you can’t get carried away,’ ” Eckersley said. ”I’ll always remember last year, but I’ll remember this year more. You don’t always get another chance.”
”I don’t know if I’m going to be here again,” McGwire said. “I’m going to savor it. I hope people respect us. If we don’t have respect, I don’t know what will earn it. I hope they say we’re a great team.
”I’d like to see it in the headlines tomorrow, ‘The A’s were great in ’89.’ Not many teams are called great teams that never won a World Series. I hope they put that tab on us.”
The A’s demanded respect from their neighbors, who never held a lead in four games. And they received their due afterward, when the Giants were still shaking heads and wondering what had hit them.
”The A’s were awesome. I’ve been in this league a long time and I can’t remember playing against too many teams as deep as they are,” the Giants’ Ken Oberkfell said. “You hate to lose, but it’s hard to feel bad when a team plays as well as they do.”
”It seems like everything came together right for this moment,” Phillips said. “We were stunned after we lost that first game (in ’88). . . . We got hit by a Tyson right. . . . This season, we battled. We just battled.”
Nothing came as easily this season as this Series did. The A’s took repeated hits — the loss of Jose Canseco for one-half season, Eckersley for six weeks and shortstop Walt Weiss for two months because of injuries — and forged ahead. So, when the Series ended so abruptly, they seemed caught by surprise.
”I thought we needed to win convincingly for the Bay Area to say we’re a better team. I thought we were,” Eckersley said. “I still thought we needed to do it convincingly. I was surprised that we did that. I’m glad we did, but I was surprised that we did. The Giants are a good team. I didn’t expect to win that easily. I don’t think anybody did.”
It was Henderson who had turned the ignition Saturday, popping a homer over the left-field fence on a 2-and-0 count to open the game. He became the 15th player to open a Series game with a homer and the first since Lenny Dykstra of the New York Mets did so in Game 3 in 1986.
And it looked all but finished in the top of the second, leaving the A’s to wait nervously through 7 1/2 more innings.
It was one of those troublesome Hendersons who began the onslaught. Dave Henderson opened the second with a double down the left-field line. Henderson advanced on Steinbach’s fly to right. Phillips grounded out to second. Then, it was hard finding fault with Craig’s logic when he had starter Don Robinson issue an intentional walk to shortstop Walt Weiss. Waiting on deck was Moore, and the sum total of his major league hitting experience was one at-bat in 1987, when he made an out.
Moore swung and missed twice, then drove the ball over Butler’s head in center field. Butler gave chase, but the ball barely eluded his outstretched glove. Moore went into second standing up with a two-run double and the first base hit by an American League pitcher in the World Series since Baltimore’s Tim Stoddard singled on Oct. 13, 1979.
Rickey Henderson singled to left, and third-base coach Rene Lachemann sent Moore loping home. He scored, Henderson went to second on the throw and Robinson departed.
The Giants, a team that made a living off comebacks, stubbornly clung to life. And they came darned close to scaring the daylights out of the A’s and staging one of the great comebacks in Series history.
A’s Manager Tony La Russa lifted starting pitcher Moore after six innings with the A’s leading 8-2. And Gene Nelson, who owned a 54.00 ERA in the Series after failing in the ninth during the Giants’ four-run rally in a 13-7 loss in Game 3, did it again. He walked Terry Kennedy, and Greg Litton followed with a two-run homer. Nelson got Donell Nixon to fly out to right, and left-hander Rick Honeycutt came in.
Pinch hitter Candy Maldonado tripled to right on a ball that Canseco perhaps could have caught. Butler followed with a run- scoring double to left and pinch hitter Robby Thompson’s single made it 8-6. Honeycutt got Will Clark to fly out to right, and Todd Burns came in to face Kevin Mitchell.
The A’s lead looked awfully precarious when Mitchell sent a towering fly to left, but Rickey Henderson caught it on the warning track.
The A’s added insurance when reliever Steve Bedrosian walked in a run in the top of the eighth.”