Friday, August 10, 2012

1988 TOPPS DAVE STEWART

AN ACE OF THE HIGHEST ORDER.
THAT '87 SEASON LOOKED A LITTLE FLUKY IN '88.

THE FRONT PAGE

  • The cap pulled low over the eyes and that stare from the mound. That's what I remember most about Dave Stewart, a quintessential late-bloomer who was a leader of the almost dynastic Oakland Athletics teams of the late-'80s and early-'90s. He was a terrific big-game pitcher, starting 18 postseason games and compiling a 2.84 ERA, winning 10 games. In the ALCS alone, he was 8-0.

THE BACK PAGE

  • He put up journeyman stats until joining the A's and Manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan. Began developing the split-fingered fastball in '86 that would transform his career.
  • Originally drafted as a catcher. 

PHOTO PLAY

  • Classic baseball card pose. Nice color saturation on a spring training morning.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • Beginning in '87, Stewart began a remarkable run of four consecutive seasons of 20-plus wins as the Athletics won three straight AL championships and one World Series.
  • In '90 he became the first black pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Jim Bibby in '73.
  • Hurt his arm before the Phillies released him. Then on July 2, 1986, La Russa, in his first game as manager for the A's, gave Stewart his first start, against the Red Sox and Roger Clemens. Stewart got the win, the first of nine victories against Clemens in 10 starts. 
  • In those four 20-win seasons, Stewart went 84-45 with a 3.20 ERA and was the only pitcher in the '80s to win 20 three consecutive years.
  • Signed with the Blue Jays in '93, was ALCS MVP and helped them win their second World Series in a a row. 
  • The success he had with Oakland and Toronto helped many forget an incident in January 1985, when he was with the Rangers and arrested in Los Angeles for lewd conduct in a public place.
  • Stewart was caught playing catch with a prostitute named "Lucille,'' who wasn't quite what she appeared to be; she was a he, a transvestite. Stewart was scheduled to be honored by the Dallas-Fort Worth baseball writers with their Good Guy Award two days later. Unbelievably, especially compared to many of today's cowardly professional athletes who hide behind publicists and issue half-baked statements to the media when they're embroiled in a controversy, Stewart met the media and answered all questions. Impressive show of integrity.
  • Stewart, born in Oakland, became a symbol of courage and compassion after the earthquake interrupted the '89 World Series, in which he was named MVP after going 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA. 
  • He started the sports agency business Sports Management Partners and represents major-leaguers, including the Dodgers' Matt Kemp and Chad Billingsley.

1 comment:

  1. I love that card - one of the best from the '88 Topps set!

    ReplyDelete