Toronto Blue Jays History

Blue Jays: Dave Stewart still belongs in the Hall of Fame Conversation

Brent Cardy
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 01: Dave Stewart #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on July 1, 1994 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 01: Dave Stewart #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on July 1, 1994 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Former Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Dave Stewart belongs in the Cooperstown and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame conversation.

He may not have had the impact on Toronto Blue Jays fans like Hall of Famer Roy Halladay did. He also may not have been as beloved as Pat Hentgen or Juan Guzman. However, you can’t argue the impression Dave Stewart made on Blue Jays nation.

Stewart’s career started in 1978 in a brief two-inning appearance with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He wouldn’t return to the show until the strike-shortened 1981 season. Stewart was on the team that beat the Montreal Expos and won the World Series that season. He would start to hone his craft from 1981-1984 with the Dodgers before moving to the Texas Rangers. Stewart had a relatively solid 1983 campaign going 10-4 with a 2.96 in a swing man role with the Rangers and Dodgers.

Stewart wouldn’t have a lot of success in the mid 1980’s between his time with the Rangers and the Philadelphia Phillies. He appeared in 12 games with Philadelphia between the 1985-1986 seasons posting an earned run average around 6.50.

In his age 30 season in 1987, Stewart became a 20-game winner. It would be first of four straight 20 game winning seasons. It was also the first time Stewart pitched over 250 innings in a regular season. In those four seasons Stewart would pitch no more then 275 innings and no less then 257 innings, which is absolutely insane by today’s standards.

Stewart would pitch 226 innings in the 1991 season.

Do you want to know what the craziest part of Dave Stewart’s career was? He only went to the All-Star game once, in 1989.

Blue Jays fans would start to get to know Dave Stewart in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Stewart beat Dave Stieb twice in games 1 and 5 of the American League Championship Series, and would also be named the MVP of the 1989 World Series.

June 29th, 1990 Dave Stewart would throw a no-hitter at Skydome against the Toronto Blue Jays. In 1992, Stewart would wreak havoc again in the American League Championship Series. He started Game 1 and would have been credited with the win if reliever Jeff Russell didn’t blow the lead. Stewart dominated in game five over David Cone in a 6-2 victory.

The veteran would sign with the Blue Jays for the 1993 season after the team lost Jimmy Key to free agency. Stewart battled through a lot of injuries, but he managed to post a 12-8 record with a 4.44 ERA.  Stewart got into 162 innings, but all the Jays needed to do was to get him to the American League Championship Series.

Stewart would outduel Alex Fernandez in Game 2 in a 3-1 victory, he would beat Fernandez again to clinch the series. Stewart would be named the ALCS MVP for his two victories.

For his regular season career, Stewart was 168-129 with a 3.95 ERA. He was 8-0 in the ALCS as he was absolutely clutch when it mattered most, and he received two ALCS MVP awards for his work. As mentioned, he also won the 1989 World Series MVP, and collected three World Series rings in all.

Even though his regular season career statistics weren’t overwhelmingly great, his playoff success was absolutely sensational. The A’s and the 1993 Jays do not reach their championships without Dave Stewart. For that reason, I believe Dave Stewart should be highly considered for a Cooperstown, or a Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction.

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Dave Stewart is eligible for the 2023 Cooperstown Today’s game era committee.

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