OAKLAND -- The A's had a major surprise in store Sunday at their 30th-anniversary celebration of the 1989 World Series title.
In front of players, coaches and executives from that championship squad, A's president Dave Kaval announced that World Series MVP Dave Stewart would have his No. 34 retired next season.
"Dave is one of the great legends in Oakland A’s history," Kaval said in a statement. "He exemplifies what it means to be an Oakland A. He gave his heart and soul to this Club and our Oakland community."
Congrats Stew! 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/5epmtx34Hq— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 25, 2019
An Oakland native, Stewart pitched eight seasons for the A's, going 119-78 with a 3.73 ERA. The right-hander finished in the top four of Cy Young voting for four straight seasons from 1987-90.
Stewart got emotional when talking about the honor.
"I've had people say, 'You should be in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame' but I'm smart enough to know that my numbers don't equal that," he said. "So, in a small way, you want to do something good in your community and be remembered. And this does that."
Stewart's postseason numbers were simply incredible. In 10 ALCS starts, he went 8-0 with a 2.03 ERA, winning a pair of ALCS MVP awards.
"I've watched the A's since they came to Oakland, so I know the history of the organization," Stewart said. "I could probably tell you about every player, especially in the early days. As a kid, I used to hop the fence to come in and watch these guys play. Until today, the names and the numbers that have been retired were all Hall of Famers, and deservedly so.
"For the organization to step outside that and honor me in that way, there just are no words to express how I feel."
The honor was made even more special by the opportunity for Stewart to share it with his former teammates from the '89 World Series team, who were on hand, along with the squad's manager Tony La Russa.
"I like to say that we're best friends," Stewart said of La Russa. "That was built on my time here in Oakland and earning his respect. ... When you think about family and all the hardships and all the happy times that you have, those are the friendships that I built through those years that I will continue to have until I die."
Added La Russa: "That team had everything. Their minds were right from day one of spring training till the end. Just let them play. ... When you have that conversation of greatest teams, it's impossible not to include the '89 A's because every place you looked, there was a productive player. Every place on the pitching staff and the position players, it was so deep."
A’s reuniting the ‘89 World Series winning team while the Giants are in town 😎 pic.twitter.com/jJRELaoxPn— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 25, 2019
La Russa and Stewart both carry a tremendous amount of pride for that team. Stew probably summed it up best.
"F---ing good. We were good," he said. "We didn't accomplish everything that we wanted to, but we were really good. I mean, from top to bottom, we could beat you in a lot of ways. We could run the bases, we could pitch, we (had a) bullpen, we could hit, we played small when we had to.
"We were really good."
They sure were.