Ohio in 1961 and ’62 is the only state to have two NCAA basketball championship game representatives in consecutive seasons (Cincinnati-Ohio State). Who outside of New York has done it in major league baseball?
California is the only state besides New York to have two World Series representatives in consecutive seasons. The Oakland Athletics never had to leave the state when they represented the American League in 1988 and ’89 against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants of the National League.
Of course New York City is famous for its Subway Series. Four times The Big Apple has been the center of the baseball universe in consecutive seasons. Ironically the Dodgers and Giants were involved there as well representing Brooklyn and New York before moving to California in 1958.
The first all-California World Series occurred in 1974 when the A’s defeated the Dodgers four games to one for their third consecutive championship. It was the first time two teams in the same state had met since 1956 when the New York Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers.
While the Los Angeles Dodgers would continue to have success, the A’s would not return to prominence until the late 1980’s. After acquiring manager Tony LaRussa, pitcher Dave Stewart and sluggers Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco Oakland won the pennant in 1988 and got a rematch with the Dodgers.
This World Series is memorable for the dramatic game winning pinch hit home run by Dodger outfielder Kirk Gibson in game one and the stellar pitching of Orel Hershiser. Gibson’s homer was the spark which ignited the underdog Dodgers to victory while Hershiser dominated the A’s on the mound winning both of his starts. In a reversal of 1974 Los Angeles defeated Oakland four games to one.
Despite the defeat Oakland’s future looked bright. They were a young and talented team just as their predecessors from the early 1970’s. There was no reason to believe that there would not be more trips to the World Series. There were as they returned in 1989 and ’90. Along the way, the A’s and San Francisco Giants would keep the Series in California for the 1989 season.
There was no reason to believe that the Giants would win the pennant in ’89. They had finished fourth in the National League West in 1988, 11 ½ games behind the rival Dodgers. But led by league Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kevin Mitchell and first baseman Will Clark San Francisco won 92 games which was enough to win the division. Then they defeated the Chicago Cubs to win the pennant.
Of course, this World Series is remembered for the earthquake which occurred before game three in San Francisco. Though Candlestick Park was not damaged much the rest of the Bay area suffered catastrophic damage. With the A’s up 2-0, the Series was postponed for ten days. When it resumed, Oakland picked up right where they left off and completed a four game sweep.
Thanks to the Cincinnati Reds in 1990 the Series finally left California. At least half of it as Oakland returned once again.
And since 1988-89 no state has been able to keep the World Series inside their borders in consecutive seasons.