Dave Stewart

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1995 Topps Traded #154T Dave Stewart

David Keith Stewart

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Biographical Information[edit]


Dave Stewart's big-league career lasted 15 seasons, but he is best known for a four-year stretch with the Oakland Athletics from 1987 to 1990 in which he notched 84 wins - all 20-victory seasons - and led the Athletics to three consecutive World Series appearances. In 1989, "Smoke" won 21 games, two more in the American League Championship Series and two more in the World Series, winning the Series MVP award as the A's captured their fourth Series championship in Oakland. Stewart left the A's after the 1992 season for the Toronto Blue Jays. At age 36, Stewart was no longer a dominant pitcher, but still won a dozen games for the Jays in 1993 as they went on to win the 1993 Fall Classic.

Stewart was drafted in 1975 by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a catcher, but was converted to the mound during his minor league days. He made his big-league debut at age 21 in 1978, pitching two scoreless innings of relief against the San Diego Padres at the end of the season. Two years later, Stewart was back, and spent much of the next three seasons pitching both out of the bullpen and out of the rotation for the Dodgers.

On August 19, 1983, the Dodgers traded Stewart to the Texas Rangers for Rick Honeycutt. Upon Stewart's arrival in Arlington, Rangers manager Doug Rader inserted him into the starting rotation. He fared well, winning five of seven decisions, but struggled to a 7-14 mark in 1984. Banished to the bullpen in 1985, his struggles became worse. In September, he was sent to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he made four appearances. He underwent surgery during the off-season to remove bone chips from his elbow. He made eight more appearances for Philly in 1986, did poorly, and was released. The Athletics signed him, and he spent the rest of that season working between the rotation and the bullpen. In 1987, he took a spot in the Oakland rotation and ran with it, winning 20 games and becoming the first Oakland hurler to fan 200 hitters in a season since Vida Blue in 1971.

Stewart went 6-0 to start the 1988 season. He was the first pitcher to go 6-0 before the end of April. With an earlier start to the season, several pitchers would follow suit in the 2000s and 2010s: Randy Johnson in 2000 and 2002, Brandon Webb in 2008 and Jered Weaver in 2011. He is also the last pitcher to have recorded a complete game of more than 10 innings in the majors, doing so on August 1, 1990, when he won 1-0 in 11 innings.

Stewart returned to the A's after a two-year stint with the Blue Jays in 1993-1994. He started 16 games for them in 1995, won 3 and lost 7, and retired.

Stewart was the pitching coach for the San Diego Padres in 1998, and then was assistant General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2000 and 2001. He resigned when he was bypassed for the top job in favor of J.P. Ricciardi and returned as a pitching coach with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002. He resigned from that position to become a sports agent. At the end of the 2014 season, rumors emerged that he would be hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks to succeed Kevin Towers as General Manager. Tony LaRussa, Stewart's former manager in Oakland, was now the D-Backs' President. The rumors were confirmed on September 25th, when the D-Backs officially introduced Stewart as their new GM, also giving him the title of Senior Vice-President. However, his tenure was short and controversial, with two major moves at its center. The first was the decision to sign P Zack Greinke to an extremely rich multi-year contract, and the second, the trade of top prospects, including overall #1 draft pick Dansby Swanson and OF Ender Inciarte to the Atlanta Braves in return for P Shelby Miller. Greinke had a mediocre 2016 season, but Miller was absolutely awful, and combined with an injury to CF A.J. Pollock, the D-Backs had a terrible season. Both manager Chip Hale and Stewart paid the price, being fired at the end of the season, with Mike Hazen taking over as GM. Ironically, the D-Backs made it to the postseason the next year, with Greinke making a major contribution.

In 2017, Stewart's name popped up in the news again, this time as a member of a group bidding to buy the Miami Marlins. The group was led by Tagg Romney, son of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and also included Hall of Famer Tom Glavine; its rival was led by another presidential scion, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and had Derek Jeter as its main baseball figure. In the end, it was a group financed by Bruce Sherman and including Jeter that won the bidding. Stewart attended spring training with the Athletics in 2018 as a special instructor. In 2019, the Athletics announced that they would retire his uniform number, 34, during the following season. The number had already been retired by the A's, in honor of Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, but this had been done after Stewart had also worn it during his years with the Green and Gold.

Dave Stewart's Notable Games[edit]

  • September 22, 1978: Stewart makes his major-league debut at Dodger Stadium against the San Diego Padres. He pitches two scoreless innings during a 12-3 loss.
  • April 13, 1981: First major league victory. Stewart relieves Bob Welch in the 4th inning against the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park, pitching two scoreless innings, as the Dodgers came from behind to win, 4-3.
  • May 19, 1982: In a rare display of hitting prowess, Stewart goes 2-for-4 while pitching the Dodgers to victory over the Chicago Cubs.
  • May 23 and 29, 1983: Now a member of the Rangers, Stewart pitches complete games in back-to-back starts, winning one and losing the other. He gives up a total of 3 runs (all earned) in 17 innings of work, striking out 5 and walking 1.
  • July 27, 1985: In a disastrous outing, Stewart gives up 6 runs in 2 innings against the New York Yankees at Arlington Stadium. Stewart isn't alone: the Yankees won 14-2.
  • May 29, 1986: Making his Oakland Athletics debut, Stewart allows just 1 run in 3 innings of work out of the bullpen, but the A's lose to the Baltimore Orioles, 8-6.
  • June 1, 1986: Stewart's first start as an Athletic. He allows the Yankees 1 run in 5 innings, but leaves with the score tied, 1-1. The Yankees win, 7-1, but Stewart received a no-decision.
  • July 7, 1986: Pitching in and out of trouble for most of the night, Stewart defeats Roger Clemens and the Boston Red Sox, 6-4, at Fenway Park. It's his first victory in an Oakland uniform.
  • August 1, 1987: Stewart strikes out a career-high 14 batters as he triumphs over the eventual world champion Minnesota Twins, 3-2 at the Oakland Coliseum. He strikes out the side in the 3rd inning, victimizing Tim Laudner, Dan Gladden and Greg Gagne in order.
  • September 30, 1987: Pitching in front of a sparse Coliseum crowd of 9,428, Stewart defeats the Cleveland Indians, 4-3, for his 20th victory of the season. It's the first 20-victory season of his career, and the first of four to come.
  • October 15, 1988: Stewart makes his first World Series start, allowing 3 runs in 8 innings against his old team, the Dodgers, at Dodger Stadium. He gets a no-decision, as Kirk Gibson's two-run home run off closer Dennis Eckersley gives Los Angeles the victory.
  • September 22, 1989: In defeating the Minnesota Twins, 5-2, Stewart achieves two milestones: it's his 20th victory of the season, making him the only pitcher in the decade to have three consecutive 20-win seasons; it's also the 100th victory of his career.
  • October 14, 1989: Stewart handcuffs the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the 1989 World Series, 5-0, at the Coliseum. It's his first Series victory.
  • June 29, 1990: Stewart tosses his first career no-hitter, defeating the Toronto Blue Jays at Skydome, 5-0. He strikes out 12.
  • October 12, 1992: Promising a victory to stave off elimination, Stewart goes the distance in defeating the Blue Jays 6-2, in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. Unfortunately, the A's lose the next game and are eliminated from the postseason. Stewart then signs with the Blue Jays as a free agent during the offseason.
  • October 17, 1993: Stewart returns to the World Series, this time wearing a Blue Jays uniform, but it doesn't turn out so well. He gives up 5 runs in 6 innings as the Philadelphia Phillies win Game 2, 6-4. Six days later, Stewart pitches again and receives a no-decision.
  • July 17, 1995: Back with the Athletics, Stewart lasts just 2 innings, giving up 8 runs to the lowly Milwaukee Brewers at Milwaukee County Stadium, in what is his final game in the big leagues. He retires shortly thereafter.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Blue Jays Pitching Coaches
Previous Current Next
Rick Langford Dave Stewart Mark Connor

Preceded by
Kevin Towers
Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager
Succeeded by
Mike Hazen

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jane Lee: "A's legend Stewart hopes to leave impact on staff: Former World Series MVP wants to teach 'go-get-it' mentality to young Oakland pitchers", mlb.com, February 14, 2018. [1]
  • Dave Stewart (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, December 1993, pp. 49-50 [2]
  • Kit Stier: "The Transformation of Dave Stewart", in Zander Hollander, ed.: The Complete Handbook of Baseball: 20th Anniversary Edition 1990, Signet Books, New American Library, New York, NY, 1990, pp. 28-35. ISBN 0-451-16449-0

Related Sites[edit]