Barbara Rodgers Recalls Reporting on the Loma Prieta Earthquake


On Oct. 17, 1989, the San Francisco Bay Area was once humming about baseball: The A’s and the Giants had been dealing with off towards one every other in Game 3 of the World Series. Dubbed “The Battle of the Bay,” the championship pitted Northern California’s two Major League Baseball groups towards one every other in a matchup break up between the Oakland Coliseum and Candlestick Park.

As Barbara Rodgers headed off to paintings, she recollects pondering that she was once in for a “piece of cake” October afternoon. At the time, Rodgers was once operating as an on-air newscaster for native CBS associate KPIX 5. After 20 nonstop days reporting on the MLB playoffs, Rodgers had arrived at Candlestick Park that day hoping to get in, report a couple of interviews and cross house early.

Then, at 5:04 p.m.—in a while sooner than the first pitch was once scheduled to be thrown and with are living cameras on the box—a magnitude 6.9 quake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area, plunging the area into chaos. 

General view of the Marina district crisis zone after an earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, rocks sport 3 of the World Series between the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park on Oct. 17, 1989 in San Francisco. | Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

The Loma Prieta earthquake led to 63 deaths, 3,757 accidents and about $6 billion in injury. Many accidents and casualties took place when a portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and a part of the Cypress Structure collapsed.

We spoke to Rodgers remaining week, asking her to recall her studies on that fateful day. Here’s what she needed to say.

The Day Of

Rodgers was once interviewing some Giants fanatics when she felt the floor beneath her heave and sway. Listen to the clip beneath to listen to her recount the enjoy:

Rodgers recollects that the crowd amassed in Candlestick Park didn’t totally clutch the magnitude of the state of affairs in the beginning. Fans chanted and sang “We Will Rock You” by way of Queen, as the earth rocked underneath them, pondering the earthquake was once a just right omen for the house workforce. 

But as information trickled in about the injury wrought throughout the Bay, Rodgers knew the state of affairs was once way more critical than a sport of ball. 

“I turned to my photographer. I said, ‘We need to get out of the stadium and out in a clear space.’ And so that’s what we did. We ran and ran and ran till we didn’t run. I moved and moved and moved until we got outside where we could stand in an open space,” Rodgers mentioned. 

Fences encompass the former Candlestick Park in the Bayview in San Francisco on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022. | Juliana Yamada for The Standard
A common view of Candlestick Park after the Loma Prieta earthquake hit on Oct. 17, 1989 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. | Rich Pilling/Getty Images

Between being concerned about the state of her space (it was once superb) and checking in on her husband (he made it house safely), Rodgers reported nonstop on air or even squeezed in an interview with the U.S. vp, Dan Quayle. 

She stayed on the process till 2 a.m. the subsequent morning. 

The Day After

Like many that skilled Loma Prieta’s robust waves, Rodgers mentioned that Oct. 17 was once “really one of those days you never forget.” From the roaring crowd at Candlestick Park to the collapsed Bay Bridge and fire-lit Marina, Rodgers thinks that Loma Prieta was once in reality certainly one of the “craziest”—and scariest—tales she’s lined. 

“Earthquakes are so unpredictable,” Rodgers mentioned. “And because nobody in our generation had had experience with that kind of earthquake, because the last big one was so long ago, it was really scary.”

Structures broken in the Marina District, the first tale of this three-story construction was once broken in the quake. | Photo by way of Education Images/Universal Images Group by way of Getty Images
Caltrans staff and California Highway Patrol attempt to stay order, as a bit of the Bay Bridge collapsed when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck, Oct. 17, 1989. | Steve Ringman/The SF Chronicle by way of Getty Images

In the aftermath of the quake, Rodgers became to poetry to specific the feeling of unease and eerie trepidation she felt previous in the day—sooner than the earthquake. San Franciscans had been grumbling about how scorching it was once that day, noting that the local weather was once so “strange,” even for the town’s famously balmy October climate. 

“It was hot. It was still, and it was this sort of strange light in the sky that just seemed weird,” mentioned Rodgers. “All of that, though, was in retrospect. When it was happening, it was like everybody was talking about the heat.” 

See Also

She titled the poem “Earthquake Weather.”  The piece is her recollection of the eerie—and doubtlessly prophetic—climate that day sooner than “the big one.” 

Earthquake Weather

by way of Barbara Rodgers

Hot. Too scorching.
Even for this the city’s October.
Something’s emerging in an oven
baking in the Devil’s kitchen
one thing roiling, effervescent over
without a position to move.
With no position beneath to move.

Calm. So Calm.
Stillness like in past due December
in a spot that harbors iciness
when a unexpected snow has entered
gently snuffling all the noises
of the earth we all know.
Of the earth we predict we all know.

Clear. Real transparent.
Light that turns out to construct a tunnel
achieving down into that kitchen
the place there’s one thing rising, swelling
attempting now to discover a passage
up and thru earth’s flooring.
Up and thru earth’s fragile flooring.


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