Dave Stewart (baseball)
Stewart on August 1, 2009.
February 19, 1957 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 22, 1978 for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 17, 1995 for the Oakland Athletics|
|Earned run average||3.95|
|Career highlights and awards|
David Keith Stewart (born February 19, 1957) is an American professional baseball pitcher, pitching coach, sports agent and front office executive. He is currently the general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1978 through 1995 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics, and Toronto Blue Jays.
Stewart was a MLB All-Star and a 20-game winner for four consecutive years. He was known for his postseason performance – winning one World Series Most Valuable Player Award and two League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Awards – and for staring down batters when pitching to them. He served as a pitching coach for the San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, and Blue Jays after his retirement from pitching. He later served as a sports agent, based in San Diego, until he was hired by the Diamondbacks at the end of the 2014 season.
Stewart was born in Oakland, California. His father, David, was a longshoreman and his mother, Nathalie, worked at a cannery. His father didn't want Stewart to play sports, because he felt you couldn't make a living hitting a ball, so his older brother taught him how to play.
Stewart attended St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland, where he earned All-American honors in both baseball (where he played catcher) and in football (where he was a linebacker and tight end). He also averaged 16 points per game as a small forward on the basketball team. He was offered 30 college scholarships to play football, but turned them all down to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who selected him in the 16th round of the 1975 Major League Baseball Draft.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers decided to turn Stewart into a pitcher because of his strong arm. He made his professional debut with the Bellingham Dodgers of the Northwest League. He had a 0–5 win-loss record with a 5.51 earned run average) (ERA) in 22 games pitched, five of which were games started, for a Bellingham team that set a record by losing the first 24 games of the season. He was promoted to the Midwest League at the end of the 1976 season and with the Clinton Dodgers in 1977 he had a breakout season: 17–4 with a 2.15 ERA in 24 starts, including 15 complete games and 3 shutouts. Despite his impressive season, he lost out on the Midwest League MVP and Top prospect honors to future Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, then with the Burlington Bees. Stewart was promoted to the AA San Antonio Dodgers of the Texas League for the 1978 season. He was 14–12 with a 3.68 ERA in 28 starts for San Antonio.
Stewart made his major league debut on September 22, 1978, pitching two innings of relief against the San Diego Padres. He allowed only one hit and no runs, while striking out one batter (Jim Beswick). That was his only appearance for the Dodgers that season and he spent all of the 1979 and 1980 seasons in AAA with the Albuquerque Dukes. Despite a 11–12 record and 5.24 ERA in 28 games for the Dukes in 1979, Stewart felt he pitched well and was disappointed when he did not receive a September call-up. In 1980, he was 15-10 with a 3.70 ERA for a Dukes team that won the Pacific Coast League (PCL) Championship. He led the PCL in innings pitched (202), starts (29) and tied for the lead in wins.
Stewart went to spring training with the Dodgers in 1981. Because he was out of options, the Dodgers could not send him back down to the minors without risk of losing him to another team. They had decided to release him, but reversed their minds and cut Don Stanhouse instead. He made the Dodgers opening day roster and pitched in relief that season, appearing in 32 games with a 2.49 ERA and six saves. He got his first Major League win in his first appearance of the season, on April 13 against the San Francisco Giants, when he worked two scoreless innings in relief of Bob Welch. His first save was recorded on August 16 against the Atlanta Braves. When the baseball players went on strike on June 12, Stewart was hard pressed financially and went to work for a Dodger fan that owned a metal fastener business and worked out with a semi-pro team along with teammate Bobby Castillo. The Dodgers made the playoffs that season and Stewart saw his first taste of post-season action, being credited as the losing pitcher in the first two games of the Division Series against the Houston Astros. He allowed a walk-off homer to Alan Ashby in game one and allowing the winning runs to reach base in the eleventh inning of game two. He redeemed himself by not allowing a run in the two games he appeared in for the Dodgers in the 1981 World Series against the New York Yankees, which the Dodgers won in six games.
He spent time as both a starter and a reliever in 1982, appearing in 45 games (starting 14 of them) and was 9–8 with a 3.81 ERA. The Dodgers almost traded Stewart to the Texas Rangers after the 1982 season in a package for catcher Jim Sundberg, however, Sundberg wouldn't waive his no-trade clause and the deal fell apart. In 1983, he appeared in 46 games for the Dodgers, all but one as a relief pitcher, with a 5–2 record and a 2.96 ERA. On July 11, he was part of a play that Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda called one of the "craziest" moments he'd ever seen, when three runs scored on a wild pitch.
On August 19, 1983, the Dodgers traded Stewart with a player to be named later (Ricky Wright) to the Rangers for Rick Honeycutt. The trade was controversial at the time, in that many felt that Rangers GM Joe Klein had gotten too little for the teams best pitcher at the time. The Rangers placed him in the starting rotation and he made eight starts down the stretch for them. He was 5–2 with a 2.14 ERA. In 1984, however, he struggled. He produced a 7–14 record and a 4.73 ERA in 27 starts before losing his rotation spot. Tom House joined the organization in January 1985 as the team's new pitching coach. He decided that Stewart needed a new pitch and started teaching him a split-fingered fastball. He became a relief pitcher for the Rangers in 1985, but he the results were not good. On May 22 he gave up a three-run homer to Jorge Orta of the Kansas City Royals, giving up the lead. The home fans booed him off the field and after the game he called the fans "idiots" and challenged them to come on to the field and do his job for him.
The team's new General Manager, Ben Grieve, fined Stewart $500 for his remarks, but that wasn't enough for the Rangers owner Eddie Chiles, who demanded that Grieve trade him. After finding a weak market for him, the Rangers finally managed to trade Stewart to the Philadelphia Phillies on September 13, 1985, for pitcher Rick Surhoff. In 42 games for the Rangers in 1985, he was 0–6 with a 5.42 ERA.
Stewart appeared in 12 games for the team over parts of the 1985 and 1986 seasons, recording a 6.00 ERA. There were rumors that Stewart was pitching hurt but they released him on May 9, 1986. He later said that the Phillies lied to him, that they had said if he kept his nose clean he would get somewhere, but instead he was released.
Stewart had a try-out with the Baltimore Orioles but they told him they didn't even have a spot for him in Double-A. He wound up signing a free agent contract with the Oakland Athletics on May 23, 1986. After one game with The Triple-A Tacoma Tigers, Stewart joined the A's roster. In a game on July 1st, he punched Pat Corrales, the manager of the Cleveland Indians, during a game, which initiated a bench-clearing brawl. He was suspended four games and fined for his actions. Also in 1986, Stewart developed a forkball to supplement his fastball and slider. He pitched in 29 games for the Athletics in 1986, with 17 starts. He was 9–5 with a 3.74 ERA.
Stewart signed a two-year $500,000 contract with the Athletics prior to the 1987 season. He won 20 games in 1987, while posting a 3.68 ERA and striking out 205 batters. He credited pitching coach Dave Duncan with helping improve his pitches. In 1988 he won his first eight games and claimed the Major League Baseball Pitcher of the Month Award. He went 21–12, 3.23 ERA while leading the American League (AL) with 14 complete games and 275 2⁄3 innings pitched. Stewart started two games in the A's four game sweep of the Boston Red Sox in the 1988 American League Championship Series. After the series, his manager Tony La Russa said he had "never met a player or person of higher quality." Stewart was the starting pitcher in Game one of the 1988 World Series against the Dodgers. Prior to the game, he told Dodgers' second baseman Steve Sax that he was going to hit him in the neck during the game. He came close, drilling Sax in the left shoulder and glaring at him. He allowed three runs in eight innings and was in line for the win before Kirk Gibson's walk-off homer off closer Dennis Eckersley gave the game to the Dodgers. Working on three days rest, Stewart wasn't as good in Game four, allowing four runs (only two earned) and leaving the game with one out in the sixth to pick up the loss. The Dodgers finished off their championship with a win in Game five.
In 1989, Stewart was 21–9 with a 3.32 ERA in 36 starts. His manager, La Russa, was also the manager of the American League team at the All-Star Game and picked Stewart to start for the AL team over fan favorite Nolan Ryan. He allowed two runs to score in his one inning of work in the game. He finished second in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award to Kansas City Royals pitcher Bret Saberhagen.
In the 1989 American League Championship Series, Stewart won both of the games he pitched with a 2.81 ERA. In the World Series, Stewart pitched a complete game shutout in the first game against the San Francisco Giants. The series was interrupted when a earthquake struck the Bay Area just prior to the start of Game 3. When the series resumed, 10 days later, Stewart started game three for the A's, and picked up his second win of the series when he allowed three runs in seven innings. The A's swept the series in four games and Stewart was selected as the MVP of the series. Stewart signed a new two-year $7 million contract extension with the Athletics after the season. This was the largest contract in baseball at the time.
In 1990, Stewart was 22–11 (his fourth straight 20 win season) with a 2.56 ERA in 36 starts. He led the league in innings pitched (267), complete games (11) and shutouts (4) while being second in ERA and finishing third in the Cy Young voting. On June 29, he no-hit the Toronto Blue Jays, at SkyDome, the first no-hitter by an African American since Jim Bibby in 1973. That same day, Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium – the first time in Major League history that no-hitters had been thrown in both leagues on the same day. The A's won their third straight pennant, beating the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series, and Stewart was named the ALCS MVP going 2–0 with a 1.13 ERA. Stewart got the start in Game one of the 1990 World Series for the heavily favored A's against the Cincinnati Reds. However, Eric Davis hit a two run home run off him in the first inning and he only lasted four innings as the Reds pulled off the upset. He pitched better in game four, allowing only one earned run while pitching a complete game.. but the Reds won the game and finished off a sweep of the series.
After the 1990 season, Stewart was part of a Major League All-Star team that played an eight game series in Japan against a Japanese all-star team. He went on the disabled list for the first time in his career in 1991 because of a strained rib muscle, which caused him to miss three weeks of the season. When he returned he was not as dominant as he had been before. His troubles were partly because of an inability to throw his forkball for strikes and as a result he was pitching with less confidence. In 35 starts, Stewart finished 11–11 with a high 5.18 ERA in 1991 and the Athletics missed the playoffs for the first time since 1987.
Stewart was bothered by elbow tendinitis for much of the 1992 season but still made 31 starts (his fewest since 1986) and had a 12–10 record and 3.66 ERA. The A's returned to the playoffs, but this time were seen as underdogs to the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series. Stewart started the opener of the series and pitched 7.2 innings while allowing only three runs in a game the A's won. The A's lost the next three games and were on the verge of elimination, so he called a team meeting in order to give his teammates a pep talk. He responded by pitching a complete game victory in game five, allowing only two hits. It was the first complete game victory in an ALCS game since Bruce Hurst of the Boston Red Sox pitched one in 1986 against the California Angels. However, the Blue Jays won the next game to take the series and eliminate the A's from the post-season.
Toronto Blue Jays
Stewart signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract with the Blue Jays on December 8, 1992. He said that he was sad to leave the A's, whom he had envisioned spending the rest of his career with, but he felt the Blue Jays treated him with more respect with their offer. He claimed that the A's General Manager, Sandy Alderson, was disrespectful of him and all he had done for Oakland and was insulted that he was accused of disloyalty when he signed with the Blue Jays.
As a member of the Blue Jays rotation in 1993, Stewart made 26 starts and was 12–8 with a 4.44 ERA. He suffered from a number of injuries during the season but the Blue Jays stuck with him because of his heart and competitiveness as well as the support he offered to other pitchers on the staff. The Blue Jays made it to the ALCS where Stewart got the call in game two. He allowed only one run in six innings of work to pick up the win. The day before his next start, while the rest of his team was already in Chicago, he was in Toronto helping the Salvation Army deliver food to the homeless on Thanksgiving Day in Canada. He made it to the game on time, and pitched 7.1 innings for his second win of the series, in the clinching game six that sent the Blue Jays back to the World Series. He was selected as ALCS MVP for the second time in his career. In the 1993 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Stewart got the start in game two and struggled, allowing five runs in six innings to take a rare post-season loss. Nevertheless he was confident heading into his next start, in game six, saying he was pitching for respect as much as for another championship. He allowed four runs in six innings but that was enough as the Blue Jays, thanks to a three-run walk-off homer by Joe Carter won the game 8–6 and with it took the series, 3 games to 2.
Stewart remained with the Blue Jays for the 1994 season, making 22 starts for them with a 7–8 record and 5.87 ERA before the 1994-95 Baseball strike wiped out the rest of the season. He had planned to retire at the end of the season but was bothered by the lack of empathy on the part of the fans towards the players. He would later say that he never felt the same passion for baseball after the strike.
Return to the Oakland Athletics and retirement
When the strike finally ended, he re-signed with the Athletics on April 8, 1995 and was their opening day starter on April 26, 1995. However, he could not recapture his prior form. Stewart was rocked for nine runs and was removed from the game with only one out in the second inning. In 16 starts, he was 3–7 with a 6.89 ERA, prompting the manager to announce publicly that Stewart would move to the bullpen for the first time since 1996 and be replaced in the rotation by Todd van Poppel. Stewart chose to retire rather than make the move to the pen. He made the public announcement on July 24, 1995, saying it was a low point in his life and he just couldn't perform like he wanted to anymore.
Over his career, he started 18 games in the postseason, compiling a stellar 2.84 ERA and 10–6 record. In the LCS, he was especially dominant, going 8–0.
Stewart served as the assistant to Sandy Alderson, the general manager of the Athletics, in 1996. In 1997, Kevin Towers, the general manager of the San Diego Padres, hired Stewart as his assistant. In 1998, he became the Padres' pitching coach. Stewart left San Diego after the season to gain experience in the MLB front office. He became the assistant general manager for the Blue Jays after the 1998 season. He became their pitching coach on July 24, 2000, succeeding Rick Langford. After the 2001 season, when the Blue Jays had an opening at general manager, they passed on Stewart, hiring J. P. Ricciardi instead. Stewart chose to resign. He joined the Milwaukee Brewers as their pitching coach for the 2002 season. He resigned on July 29, 2002.
On September 25, 2014, the Arizona Diamondbacks hired Stewart to become their general manager, replacing Towers. He will report into La Russa, his former manager when he played for Oakland, who serves as the Diamondbacks' chief baseball officer.
Stewart and his ex-wife, Vanessa, have two children, Adrian and Alyse.
In 1985, Stewart was arrested on suspicion of lewd conduct with a prostitute later revealed to be a transvestite. After pleading no contest to a lesser charge of soliciting a prostitute, Stewart's judgement was a fine, probation, and a suspended sentence. Stewart later admitted he was ashamed of the actions that led to his arrest.
- List of Major League Baseball wins champions
- Major League Baseball titles leaders
- List of Major League Baseball no-hitters
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|Awards and achievements|
|American League All-Star Game Starting Pitcher
June 29, 1990
|Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager
|Major League Baseball general managers by team|
|East Division||Central Division||West Division|
|East Division||Central Division||West Division|