MESA, Ariz. — He’s pitched in the All-Star Game and been a World Series MVP.
He’s served as a pitching coach, a player agent and most recently spent two years running the Arizona Diamondbacks as the general manager.
But in the minds of A’s fans, Dave Stewart will always be the guy standing on the mound in green and gold, staring down a hitter with his menacing glare. Now Stewart is joining NBC Sports California as a studio analyst for A’s Pregame Live and A’s Postgame Live, providing insight and commentary on the team he rooted for while growing up in Oakland.
“I love talking baseball,” Stewart said. “Baseball has been my life for over 40 years. To share some of my experiences in the game, to be able to give a different point of view to viewers, I can’t think of a better situation. And then to speak about a team that’s been my favorite team since I was a kid is exciting.”
With the A’s pledging to announce this year their plans to build a new ballpark in Oakland, Stewart can bring some timely perspective to the telecast. He was a core member of the powerhouse A’s teams of the late 1980’s that brought packed crowds to the Coliseum during one of the most exciting eras in the franchise’s history.
“It was electric,” he said. “Whenever you went to the ballpark to watch our teams play, you were going to leave with something to talk about. Whether it was Rickey (Henderson) hitting a leadoff home run, or Dave Henderson making a fantastic catch, or Carney Lansford just pounding base hits, or Dennis Eckersley locking down a game with a 1-2-3 inning, we had a lot of ways to beat baseball teams. It was a period of time when you knew as a fan you were gonna be entertained.”
What a collection of experiences Stewart has to draw upon. He won 20-plus games for the A’s four years in a row from 1987-90. He was at his nastiest in the postseason, when he went 10-6 with a 2.77 ERA over 22 games (18 starts). He won both his starts against the Giants in the 1989 World Series and took home MVP honors.
The dominant image from Stewart’s playing career is that of him on the mound, shooting an intimidating glare at opposing hitters as he took the catcher’s signals. Stewart said that intensity was simply a byproduct of all his preparation.
“A lot of the things I put in my head between starts were things I needed to do to be successful,” he said. “It was a build-up from the last start to the next start.”
Stewart has learned the game from every angle one could fathom. He served as pitching coach of the San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays. Running his own sports agency, he represented A’s third baseman Eric Chavez and outfielder Matt Kemp, among others. And most recently, he served as the Diamondbacks’ GM from 2015-16, where his manager was current A’s third base coach Chip Hale.
Stewart believes all of these experiences will help him bring a unique perspective to A’s fans.
“There are little things in this game that people just don’t see, and these are the things I’ll be making note of and those are the lights I’ll be turning on for them,” he said.