The time Kevin Cowherd 'predicted' the Loma Prieta Earthquake

On Tuesday afternoon, Baltimore was shook by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in Virginia that will likely go down as the strongest on record in Maryland to date. Downtown, buildings rattled, offices evacuated and sirens blared. But thankfully, as of 3 p.m., no injuries had been reported in the city, according to police and fire spokesmen.

Contrary to what some may believe, Kevin Cowherd never saw this one coming.


You see, my Baltimore Sun colleague has a history of this sort of thing, though he didn't technically predict the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989. Sports fans remember that earthquake as the one that postponed Game 3 of the World Series, which featured San Francisco Bay Area rivals, the Giants and the Athletics.

In a humor column for The Evening Sun, which happened to get picked up by The San Jose Mercury News, Cowherd joked that there might not even be a World Series because "an earthquake could rip through the Bay Area before they sing the national anthem for Game 3." Well, coincidentally, that is exactly what happened. I wouldn't blame you for not believing me, so I dug up the column for you.


Pretty crazy, right? (I'm not talking about Cowherd's mustache, but yeah, that was pretty crazy, too.)

When another Sun colleague, Chris Korman, told me about Cowherd's earthquake "prediction," I asked Cowherd if I could someday ask him about his Nostradamus-like experience for a future blog post.

Today seemed like a good day to track him down to chat. Here's how Cowherd remembers the story:

"When I turned on the game that night, there was broadcaster Al Michaels talking about the earthquake, with ABC showing panoramic shots (from the blimp, I think) of fires and other damage along Fisherman's Wharf and the Embarcadero," Cowherd said via email. "I was totally flipped out. If I was that prescient, I should have run out and played the lottery or driven up to Atlantic City to play some table games."

So how did people react to the column?

"That was my (very) small claim to fame for a while," Cowherd said. "Obviously I didn't 'predict' what came to be known as the Loma Prieta Earthquake, but the story was that I did. It generated quite a [buzz]. Radio stations called me for comment. Copies of that column were even circulated at my 20-year high school reunion. And, yeah, I still get asked about my 'prediction' to this day.

"Mainly, I think, because someone wrote about it in my Wikipedia bio."

He added: "And, no, I didn't predict the Richmond earthquake. I'm out of the natural-disaster-predicting business for good. Too much stress."