Al Michaels earned an Emmy nomination for his deft handling of the 1989 World Series earthquake at Candlestick Park. Long before that, the 'Stick was the site of Michaels' early career breakthrough as the Giants play-by-play man.

The broadcaster has enchanting recollections about the place involving Howard Cosell, Jerry Rice and Bobby Murcer.

So as Michaels prepares for what is likely to be his final visit to Candlestick, will he miss the place?

"Not really," Michaels said.

He laughed. But only a little.

Barring a playoff game at Candlestick in January, Michaels will handle his 26th -- and final -- 49ers game there Sunday with NBC's airing of "Football Night in America." The 49ers (2-2) play the Houston Texans (2-2) at 5:30 p.m. in a venue soon to be replaced by a spiffy new structure in Santa Clara.

And though it's not a fond farewell for Michaels, it's a farewell nonetheless. So before signing off, the broadcasting Hall of Famer agreed to hit the replay button on the 'Stick moments that will most stick with him.

For example, there was the time he thought the stadium might kill him. That was at 5:04 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989, just as Michaels and partner Tim McCarver began assessing the Giants' chances of a Game 3 victory over the A's.

"And then," Michaels, 68, recalled, "all hell broke loose."

The duration of the quake was about 14 seconds, "but it seemed like five times as long. Right after the quake, if you'd asked me how long it was, I would have said well over a minute."

The broadcast crew had its backs toward the open window and Michaels remembers the "petrifying split-second when we thought that we were going to get pitched out of the booth and onto the mezzanine.

Once ABC finally restored audio via telephone, Michaels sounded calm. "Well folks," he said, "that's the greatest open in the history of television, bar none!"

A longtime California resident, Michaels had been through earthquakes before. Still, he was more shaken than he let on.

"The question is, 'Is that the big jolt that is now subsiding? Or is this just beginning of a bigger rumble?' " he said. "Here we are in front of an international audience of 20-25 million. You have to keep your wits about you.

"Now, within 20 seconds you'd have everybody tweeting. Back then, nobody had access to the fact that there was a collapse on the Bay Bridge, a fire in the Marina, a freeway collapse in the East Bay."

For his work that evening, Michaels became just the second sportscaster to receive a News Emmy nomination.

Michaels had long understood that Candlestick Park and Mother Nature had an uneasy relationship. He was the Giants play-by-play man from 1974-76, a job he took after doing Cincinnati Reds games from 1971-73.

The Giants tripled his salary, which explains why he left a team featuring young Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Dave Concepcion for a moribund outfit that had iron-gloved Dave Kingman playing some third base. "The fans behind first base were in danger whenever he played there," Michaels recalled. "The throws could go anywhere."

Murcer, he said, had a novel approach to keeping his bat warm. On nights when the blustery cold winds whipped through the ballpark, the outfielder would stash his lumber in a sauna.

Speaking of blustery, that takes things back to Cosell.

Michaels, Cosell and Earl Weaver were in town to do the ABC broadcast of the 1984 All-Star Game. Weaver, a lifelong American Leaguer, had never been to the 'Stick and was aghast that a ballpark could be built on such a dastardly piece of geography.

So as the three of them drove to Candlestick Park that night, Michaels launched into a history lesson about the complicated origins of the venue, about how the mayor and the developer/landowner were pals and how the ballpark came to be known as "a monument to political chicanery."

"Earl's every other word is something you can't use in the newspaper: 'How can they build this (bleeping) place. It's so (bleeping) cold,' " Michaels recalled. "And Howard is paying no attention to any of it. He has his head down and it's like he doesn't even realize we're having a conversation. Doesn't say a word.

"Later that night, Howard opens his broadcast and says" -- and here, Michaels breaks into his best nasally Cosell imitation -- "Welcome to the site of the 1984 All-Star Game, Candlestick Park ... which some would say is a monument to political chicanery."

Though most famous for his "Do You Believe in Miracles?" call for the U.S. hockey team's triumph at the 1980 Olympics, Michaels is hardly a one-line wonder. This past summer, he was honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the Pete Rozelle Radio & Television Award.

He has seven Emmy Awards, six of them for Outstanding Sports Personality (play by play.)

Asked for his favorite 49ers memories at Candlestick, Michaels said almost all of them involve a big night by Jerry Rice. In particular, he recalled a 1997 game in which the 49ers receiver came back from an early season knee injury to deliver a touchdown catch (and get hurt again) in a 34-17 victory over the Denver Broncos on "Monday Night Football."

Those scenes of greatness are what Michaels will remember most. He also said he would miss staying in San Francisco when he's covering 49ers games, since future games will be played in Santa Clara.

But Candlestick itself? There will be no tears after the game Sunday night.

"I first saw it when it was 14 years old," Michaels said. "But it already looked like it was 114."

Follow Daniel Brown on Twitter at twitter.com/MercBrownie.