Happy Labor Day, Athletics Nation!
This Sunday, the A’s will retire jersey number 34, that of legendary hurler Dave Stewart, who led the team to its last World Series Championship in 1989. According to Smoke himself, that crowning moment may never have been his were it not for some timely encouragement from teammate Dusty Baker three years earlier.
Per Angela Martin at NBC Sports Bay Area, Stewart, in conversation with “All A’s” host Brodie Brazil, recalled that he was frustrated to the point of wanting to give up the game in 1986, his first season with the A’s. He’d signed with Oakland as a free agent after being released by the Phillies, but felt he was being unfairly relegated to the bullpen.
Stewart told friend and teammate Baker that if his situation didn’t turn around quickly, he was “going to call it.”
This is how Dusty replied, in Stew’s words:
“So Bake told me, he says, ‘Look, so I can tell you one thing … and this is the one thing I’m going to tell you. Don’t ever give your uniform away. Make them take it.’ ”
Stewart heeded Baker’s words, and before long Tony La Russa took over as A’s manager with pitching coach Dave Duncan in tow. La Russa put Stewart in the rotation, Duncan helped him develop his forkball, and the rest is history.
The A’s will play the White Sox on the day of the ceremony, but sadly, La Russa is away from his managerial duties for Chicago due to medical reasons.
AN thanks Dusty Baker for talking some sense into Smoke on the day of that fateful conversation. Could the A’s have won it all in ‘89 without their series MVP? I’m happy that we’ll never know.
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Best of Twitter:
Martinez trending up.
Adrian Martinez in his last two starts vs. AL East playoff contenders — 11 1/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 10 K— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) September 4, 2022
Kap to the pen.
The A’s TV broadcast noted a couple of times today that James Kaprielian has moved to the bullpen. Kaprielian’s next rotation turn would have been Wednesday vs. Atlanta. Ken Waldichuk is listed as the probable starter for that game instead.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) September 4, 2022
Sodie en fuego!
Third homer in five games for Soderstrom. He has 25 for the season now and 90 RBIs. https://t.co/4N468Ly1br— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) September 4, 2022
MOVES: IF Euribiel Angeles, OF Jonny Butler, C Hansen Lopez & RHP Shohei Tomioka off LAN IL, IF Alexander Campos on LAN IL, LV RHP David McKay released, LHP Ken Waldichuk & OF Cody Thomas to A’s, OF Ramon Laureano to STK on rehab, RHP Trayson Kubo to MID…https://t.co/joKXkzbDRy— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) September 5, 2022
No-no for the Lugnuts!
Combined no-hitter for the A's High-A Lansing affiliate tonight. https://t.co/IJnHIa5syw— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) September 5, 2022
20/20: One of the most improbable and incredible moments in A’s history!
OTD 2002: The A’s blew an 11-0 lead against Kansas City but Scott Hatteberg hit a pinch-hit “walk-off” home run in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 12-11 win, the A’s American League record-breaking 20th consecutive victory!#2002StreakTeam | #DrumTogether pic.twitter.com/OenvlsCT3L— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 4, 2022
Fan art from @GuySliwinski honoring Smoke.
SMOKED— Guy Sliwinski (@GuySliwinski) September 4, 2022
Dave Stewart is having his jersey # retired with the @athletics Sept 11. The man nicknamed Stew and Smoke also has a SUPER alter ego. THE Smoke! Congrats to the Homegrown Bay Area Hero!
@Athletics #DrumTogether #parodyart #comics #bayareaartist pic.twitter.com/GzdSv2GBdm