When the A’s were on MTV
While preparing for another piece, I recalled a music video from over 23 years ago – played at a time when MTV actually showed music videos – that featured a great number of the popular Oakland Athletics players and filmed at the Oakland Coliseum.
The video, “Take This Heart” by performer Richard Marx, a Chicago Cubs fan, was a hot single off of Marx’s “Rush Street” album that year.
Released in 1992, the Athletics were only a year from their back-to-back-to back run of World Series appearances and on their way to another AL West Crown. In other words, they were one of the most winning, and thus more popular, teams at the time.
As the action begins, we see an overhead shot of Wrigley Field at night. Bob Uecker, (obviously stealing a scene from the 1989 film Major League) is narrating the action.
The moment: Game seven of the World Series, bottom of the ninth, and Richard Marx, in a Cubs uniform, is being called out to pinch hit against A’s future HOF closer Dennis Eckersley. Other Athletic players are also shown including cameos by Jose Canseco, Carney Lansford, and Rickey Henderson. Back-up players Scott Hemond and Dann Howitt are also used in the video – probably due to injuries at the time to Terry Steinbach and Dave Henderson. Or for the fact that they were cheap “back-ups” on the team. The game then proceeds, but from the cameos, it appears to now be at the Coliseum.
Marx steps to the plate and Eckersley, in classic Eck fashion, lets loose. Marx swings right through the pitch. Strike one.
The music video portion thus begins showing the band rocking the tune on the Coliseum infield, showing its classic pre-Mt. Davis look and memorable orange seats.
With a brief flash or two of Marx taking batting practice at the Cubs’ Arizona spring training park, it’s back to the game with Rickey Henderson, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco on the field and Tony LaRussa showing up in the video in archived shots taken from the 1990 World Series. Eck throws another strike past Marx.
After more rocking and jamming in the vacant Coliseum in daytime and night, we’re back to the game with Marx down to his last strike. A very young Greg Maddux is watching from the dugout and cheers Marx on.
Eckersley stares, shakes Hemond off a couple of time, then delivers and Marx’s swing makes contact, driving a deep fly ball back to center field (though Uecker says ‘drive to left’). Howitt goes back to the wall and leaps as the ball goes over his outstretched glove and into the bleachers for a home run.
The scene then shifts to when Marx is immediately woken up by one of his fellow band mates, minutes away from the beginning of a concert, and we realize his Game 7 winning, Series clinching home run was all a dream. At the end, Marx looks into the camera and Uecker hollers out off-screen the line “The Cubs have won the World Series.”
(Not to spoil a good video with authenticity issues, but both teams are wearing their home uniforms and even though the stadium is clearly the Coliseum for the game, the Cubs wouldn’t be the last at bat.)
Check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRxzRREw8Dk