1989 NLCS recap

Giants defeat Cubs, 4 games to 1

September 30th, 2022

With five years to recover from their NLCS defeat in San Diego, the Cubs posted the NL's best record and had home-field advantage against Roger Craig's Giants in the NLCS. The Cubs lost that advantage right away as San Francisco split the first two games at Wrigley Field, then took all three games at Candlestick Park. The Giants would be back in the World Series for the first time since 1962, and amazingly enough, it would be against their local rival from across the Bay Bridge, Oakland.

Will Clark emerged as "Will the Thrill," a clutch star on the national stage in this NLCS, matching the NLCS record for RBIs in just the first four innings of the opening game alone. His grand slam made it 10 total bases and six RBIs by that point -- a double and two homers, all off future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux -- and the Giants went on to an 11-3 rout in the opener. No hitter was more devastating right out of the gates in a postseason series.

Yet the lasting image of Clark at the plate was at the end of the series rather than at the beginning: Clark vs. Mitch Williams, aka "Wild Thing." Clark had tripled and scored in the seventh inning of Game 5 to tie the score at 1, and then in the bottom of the eighth, with the bases loaded and two outs, Cubs manager Don Zimmer called in Williams to face Clark. A single to center gave the Giants a 3-1 lead, and after allowing one Cubs run in the ninth, San Francisco clinched in front of a delirious sellout crowd of 62,084. The Cubs' last swing of the 1980s was a Ryne Sandberg 4-3 groundout against Steve Bedrosian.

Path to the NLCS: San Francisco (92-70) won the NL West by three games; Chicago (93-69) won the NL East by six games 

Managers: Roger Craig, SF; Don Zimmer, CHC

MVP: Will Clark