Dave Stewart Says, “Our Oakland A’s ‘89 Team, I Would Put Them against Any Team in the History of the Game and Take My Chances!”
In an interview with WKXL’s Chris Ryan, Dave “Smoke” Stewart, who was a dominant pitcher in the 1980s and 1990s, talks about the outstanding Oakland A’s teams of that era and his battles in the playoffs against the Red Sox and Roger Clemens.
Dave Stewart’s major league pitching career was from 1978-1995 for five different teams— the Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics, and Toronto Blue Jays. He played on three World Championship teams and compiled a 3.95 career ERA and a 168-129 won-loss record. Dave Stewart was a twenty-game winner for four consecutive seasons, and he excelled in the postseason—winning one World Series MVP and two League Championship MVPs. After his playing career, he served as a pitching coach for the San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, and Toronto Blue Jays. Stewart also was an assistant general manager, general manager, and even a sports agent.
Much of the conversation deals with a description of the Oakland A’s of the 1980s and 90s. These were great teams with a Hall of Fame Manager, Tony La Russa; an outstanding pitching coach, Dave Duncan; solid pitching with Stewart as the ace; a great reliever, Dennis Eckersley; talented position players like Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, and Mark McGuire. He believes that the 1989 championship team would match up well with any team in history.
Dave Stewart describes the physical, mental, and emotional requirements of being a pitcher. He relished the role of being the “Ace” of the staff and battling the other team’s best pitcher. Stewart’s patented intimidating stare when he was on the mound let opposing hitters know that he was all business.
There is a discussion of steroid use during the period of Dave Stewart’s career, and he has some interesting opinions about how major league baseball has dealt with the Astros and Red Sox over sign stealing.
Dave Stewart also discusses his approach to the great hitters of his era from a pitcher’s perspective, Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Paul Molitor, and Rickey Henderson. He considers Henderson to be one of the top five players of all time.
The 1993 Toronto Blue Jays was another championship team that had Dave Stewart in their starting rotation. He also compares that talented team to his Oakland teams.
In the conclusion of the interview, Dave Stewart gives advice to young pitchers in little league and high school. As a big leaguer and as a pitching coach who has worked at all levels, Dave Stewart says, “The key to being successful is throwing strikes. You can not be afraid to make hitters put the ball in play. Pitch to get hitters out as quickly as you can.”