This is something that should have happened long ago for Dave Stewart and the Oakland A’s.
His number 34 was set to be retired back in 2020, a fitting tribute to one of the stars of the A’s last true run of greatness. However, due to the pandemic, and fans not being allowed in the stadiums for the abbreviated season, those plans were put on hold. Eventually, it was announced that Stewart’s jersey would be immortalized on September 11, 2022.
Looking back at Dave Stewart’s time with the Oakland A’s
While the number has already been retired for Rollie Fingers, Stewart deserves to have his name connected with the 34 as well. Having Tony La Russa, his manager during his time in Oakland, as part of the opposing White Sox, is a perfect touch as well.
The A’s were the last chance for Stewart. He had been released by the Phillies on May 9, 1986, his career seemingly on the rocks. Stewart signed with the A’s two weeks later, learning a forkball and working with pitching coach Dave Duncan to improve his fastball and slider.
Those changes worked. Stewart became a star in 1987 and, aside from a speed bump in 1991, did not slow down. He won at least 20 games from 1987 through 1990, finishing in the top three of the AL Cy Young award vote thrice. After leaving Oakland as a free agent after the 1992 campaign, he returned for his final season in 1995, ending his career in the place where he became one of the most feared pitchers in the game.
Overall, Stewart easily had the most success of his career as a member of the A’s. He posted a 119-78 record with a 3.73 ERA and a 1.318 WHiP over his 1717.1 innings, striking out 1152 batters with 655 walks. He was a key part of their three AL titles during that run, taking home the MVP awards for the 1989 World Series and the 1990 ALCS.
Dave Stewart was a key part of the Oakland A’s success in the late 1980s. Now, after delays, he is finally getting his due as his number is retired.