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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Who was Sammy Stewart?

Por MRod

The baseball world echoed the news of the death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher, Sammy Stewart, at 63 years old. Stewart had the best ERA in the American League in 1981 and he partcipated in the postseason in 1979 and 1983. He won the AL championship in 1979 and the World Series championship in 1983, both with the Baltimore Orioles. His life had lights and shadows, as with most human beings.

Former pitcher Sammy Stewart, who helped the Baltimore Orioles crown themselves in the 1983 World Series before dropping to a life of cocaine addiction, died at 63 years of age. Henderson County police said Stewart was found dead on Friday at a residence. Until Sunday, the authorities had not determined the cause of his death. Known as "Throwin 'Swannanoan" due to his birthplace in North Carolina, Stewart immediately stood out in Baltimore, according to a recent article by ESPN. With his powerful fastball, the right-hander set a Major League record by striking out seven batters in a row in his Major League debut in 1978 against the Chicago White Sox at Memorial Stadium.

With loose hair and thick mustache, an accent typical of rural areas and a penchant for telling funny stories, Stewart was very popular with his colleagues in Baltimore. "We live amazing days with this guy," said former receiver Rick Dempsey standing next to Stewart during a broadcast of the Orioles in 2016. Stewart was also successful on the mound, especially in the postseason, posting an impressive 0.00 ERA in four World Series games, covering seven innings and two thirds. He undoubtedly deserves a wow! for this.

Sammy Stewart pitched three times in the series for the championship in 1983 in which the Orioles beat the Philadelphia Phillies. ESPN recalls that in an image that captures his personality, Stewart appears under an umbrella while a teammate pours champagne after the Orioles took the title of the American League East Division in 1983 with a victory in Milwaukee. The right-hander went 59-48 with 45 saves and a 3.59 ERA over 10 seasons - the first eight in Baltimore, one in Boston and one in Cleveland. He pitched in 359 games, 25 of them as a starter. Stewart covered 956 innings and two thirds, struck out 586 and gave away 502 bases on balls. His career came to an end in 1987 and out of the diamond, his life fell into an uncontrolled spiral.

Yes, not everything is perfect. Many of those who knew him said that Stewart fell apart after the death of one of his children, a victim of cystic fibrosis at 11 years old. He was arrested dozens of times after his retirement, pledged his championship ring, lost his home and spent more than six years in prison before being released in 2013. Stewart kept in touch with peers and participated in autograph signing events with them after getting out of jail. He worked as an instructor at a baseball and softball center in North Carolina during the last year.