The Great Quake Of ’89

Early Sunday morning, most of the San Francisco-Oakland area felt a sizeable earthquake, measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale.

It was the largest quake since the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, which most of the country recognized as it interrupted ABC’s coverage of the third game of that year’s World Series between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco. Broadcaster Al Michaels tried to alert everybody to the earthquake, but only got the “earth” part out before transmission was temporarily lost.

I was doing something a bit less spectacular while that was going on: I was sleeping. I had just started working for radio station WTAN in Clearwater a week or so prior to all of this, working the overnight shift from 12am-6am, and 12am-8am on Sunday mornings. Even though I was off, the sleeping pattern of my 18 year-old body had been all mixed up. About 10pm that night, I get up from bed, hoping to catch the latter part of the World Series game.

I figured my mom or dad would be watching the game, but it wasn’t on, which confused me. So, I asked my mom what’s happening with the World Series game.

“You don’t know? They had an earthquake in San Francisco. The game has been postponed.”

I thought my mother was joking around. It wasn’t unusual for my father to play that kind of joke. He once told me a space shuttle exploded and obliterated Cape Canaveral a few months before the Challenger disaster had took place in 1986. But looking again, I saw that my mom had a serious look in her eyes. So I turned on the news, and she was right.

Hope everything turns out as good as it can for the people of San Francisco all these years later.

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