The Detroit Tigers and an Illinois Earthquake on June 10, 1987

The Associated Press reported on this quake, which is interesting to compare to the Virginia earthquake this August that shook up so many people and impacted a Mariners-Indians game:

A strong earthquake rattled across 15 states from Missouri to South Carolina and parts of Canada yesterday evening, shaking skyscrapers and a major-league baseball stadium and triggering alarms at a nuclear plant. There were reports of minor damage and one minor injury.

The tremor, centered near Lawrenceville, Ill., 55 miles north of Evansville, Ind., was the largest in that part of Illinois in nearly 20 years, caving in part of a roof, breaking windows and cutting some telephone service in three counties.

The National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., said the quake occurred at 6:49 p.m. (CDT) and registered 5.0 on the Richter scale. A quake of that magnitude can cause considerable damage.

Reports of people feeling the quake came in from Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina, and also from several cities in Ontario.

“It was scary, but I must admit, it gave me a real thrill,” said nursing supervisor Becky Baker at Home Hospital in Lafayette, Ind. “I didn’t know what it was. I never felt anything like that before.”

Near Erie, Pa., Catherine Shaw, 76, and her husband, John, were watching television in their apartment in Harborcreek Township when the quake hit.

“We don’t have rocking chairs,” she said. “Our chairs are pretty solid,” but they “started rocking back and forth.”

At Tiger Stadium in downtown Detroit, slugger Kirk Gibson was at bat against the Milwaukee Brewers when the earthquake hit.

“You could look through the glass in front across the other side of the press box and see a kind of shaking,” Tiger spokesman Craig Shea said. “It was swaying even.” The press box at the stadium, one of the oldest parks in the major leagues, sits atop the third deck.

“I think this will serve as a reminder that we do live in an area that can have earthquakes ,” said Gregg Durham, a spokesman for the Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Agency. “A lot of people had their wits scared out of them.”

And USA Today added:

The most recent comparable Midwestern quake occurred July 12, 1986, when a jolt centered in Auglaize County, Ohio, registered 4.2 on the Richter scale. The strongest in several years occurred Jan. 1, 1986, when an earthquake centered about 30 miles northeast of Cleveland had an estimated magnitude of 5.0.

“It is considered a moderate earthquake ,” said Waverly Person at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo. “It’s unusual to have one this size in the Midwest.”

Steve Thibideau, 27, of Union Lake, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, timed the tremors he felt with a stopwatch he happened to have in hand: 2 minutes, 39 seconds.

“It was just kind of odd, everything vibrated and shook. It was pretty strong for 10 or 15 seconds. I was out in the garage checking on my fishing gear and everything started jumping up and down. … I could see the worm on the end of my fishing pole jumping up and down.”

Many people didn’t feel a thing. “I’ve got 500 customers up here right now and I haven’t heard a peep out of them,” said Julie Weaver from the restaurant on the 95th floor of Chicago’s John Hancock building.

But behind Mississippi Tavern in Fort Madison, Iowa, a man leaning against a wall felt the quake. “He said that the wall was moving. I said, `No, it ain’t – you’re stoned,’ ” recalled a friend, Tony Elmore, who was standing nearby.

As the power lines to the bar began to swing, Elmore said, “I saw the building swaying an inch either way. I never seen a train or anything move a wall like that.”

Baseball fans at Tiger Stadium in Detroit got a scare when the stadium began shaking.

“The press box began swaying, moving back and forth like an amusement ride. It was quite scary,” said Detroit News Sports Editor Joe Falls. However, it apparently did not affect Tiger Kirk Gibson, who slammed a triple to center field right after the tremor. [The quake and triple came in the bottom of the 1st, by the way.]

Published in: on November 9, 2011 at 6:03 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You always come up with interesting stuff. I honestly don’t remember this event, but I was living in New England at the time, so I guess somehow I missed it. Great ending with Gibson hitting a triple right after the earthquake struck.
    BTW, I’ve moved my blog back to my old site at
    Cheers, Bill

  2. My father took his last breath at the time of the tremor. I always said he went out big.
    He was a Det.Sargent with the Michigan State Police, known by many.

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