Friday, October 18, 2002

California Series brings back memories of '89 quake

The Associated Press

        SAN JOSE, Calif. — The last time two California baseball teams met in a World Series, a deadly earthquake rocked Northern California.

        Could another quake strike as the San Francisco Giants take on the Anaheim Angels in the first all-California World Series since 1989?

        Seismologists say another moderate or even larger quake is theoretically possible, with the mighty San Andreas and related faults not far from either stadium. But the chances of a big one hitting on any given day are extremely remote.

        “It's probably the same probability as people would have given to the Angels winning the World Series at the beginning of the year,” said Tom Heaton, professor of engineering and seismology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

        Thirteen years ago Thursday, as Game 3 between the Giants and the Oakland A's was getting under way at San Francisco's Candlestick Park, a 22-mile section of the San Andreas Fault slipped about 60 miles south of the stadium.

        The magnitude-7.1 quake broke a section of the Bay Bridge, caused a freeway to collapse and destroyed neighborhoods. In all, 63 people were killed and 3,000 injured. Damage was put at $10 billion. The World Series was postponed for 10 days.

        “Nobody ever believed that could happen,” said Giants manager Dusty Baker, a third-base coach with the team at the time of the earthquake.

        “That was a very traumatic day in the lives of many people. A lot of people lost their lives. When they said the Bay Bridge fell, I said, 'No way.' But part of it did fall down.”

        Scientists say it is likely another big quake will strike along the San Andreas or its sister faults over the next 30 years.

        If there is another October surprise, fans should know that both stadiums — Pacific Bell Park, which opened in 2000, and Anaheim's Edison International Park — meet modern earthquake standards even though they are built on silty soil that tends to amplify earthquake waves.


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