“Battle of the Bay: Bashing A’s, Thrilling Giants and the Earthquake World Series” by Gary Peterson
Baseball, history, Athletics, Giants
March 12, 2013
4 of 5 stars (very good)
When fans think of the 1989 World Series, there are two thoughts that immediately come to mind. One, of course, was the devastating earthquake that hit the area just before the start of game three. The other is that the series was dominated by the Oakland A’s, winning the series in a sweep when they never trailed for even an inning in the four games. However, there was much more to the 1989 season for both the A’s and their opponents in the World Series, the San Francisco Giants. The seasons for both teams and the memorable moments are captured in this book by Gary Peterson.
I was impressed with this book for two reasons. The first one was the balance in covering both teams’ 1989 seasons without any apparent bias toward one club or the other. Most fans in a region with two baseball teams will usually favor one team or the other, and reporters will usually have greater knowledge of the team for which they cover regularly. But in the case of Peterson and this book, both teams have equal footing for both the amount of space in the book, the tone of the passages for each team (overwhelmingly positive for both clubs) and for the unusual stories.
From the off-field exploits of Oakland’s Jose Canseco and his brushes with the law to the inspirational comeback from cancer of Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky, both teams are covered completely in the book. Not only these types of stories, but the reader will be taken through each team’s season, from important regular season series to the division-clinching games and through their respective league championships, both the Giants and A’s are well chronicled in the book.
That leads to the other reason I was impressed with this book. The baseball recaps were thorough and complete. Nearly every series played by both teams was described and where the teams were in the standings at that particular point in the season. The reader will learn about many players on both teams, not just the stars. From Carney Lansford of the A’s falling just short of winning the American League batting title to Kevin Mitchell of the Giants and his antics, the reader will be following both teams through the entire season.
The earthquake is also covered in a respectful and complete manner, with aspects from both Candlestick Park and the region as a whole. Thoughts from the players and the commissioner of baseball (who ultimately decided the World Series would not be cancelled) and a story of a man who was found alive in the rubble on a bridge make that chapter a compelling read.
Overall, this was a very good book that covers all aspects of the season for both teams. It does not go into great depth for either team or the World Series, but it is an entertaining book that all baseball fans should enjoy.
Did I skim?
No - the book was an easy read, easy to follow, and was interesting along the way.
Pace of the book:
The book moved along at a terrific pace, as the recaps of the seasons for both teams were complete, but not too detailed as to drag the book down.
Do I recommend?
Fans of both the Giants and A’s will enjoy this balanced account of the 1989 season and World Series, while readers who like to read about baseball history will also like this book.
Book Format Read: