Young Sam Stewart, Baltimore Orioles Rookie Pitcher. 1979. “Earl Weaver hated me when I first came up with the big club. Come to think of it, he never really took to me even into when he retired. My rookie year, he told our equipment guy not to give me a hat, so I had to beg different teammates to let me borrow theirs on my day to pitch. No one would volunteer on the day I was photographed for my rookie card. One time I asked Eddie Murray to borrow his when he got out of a game early, and he punched me in the dick so hard I was nauseous until football season was over. My rookie year was rougher then people will ever understand.”
Sammy pictured in happier times at home with his uni-brow. “The brow was the key to my legendary 1981 season. I had a 2.32 ERA that year because hitters couldn’t take their eyes off how stupid I looked. In 1982 I tried to grow the brow all the way down my cheeks into my mustache. I wanted to have what we call down in Carolina a ‘bush-face’. Didn’t work out, and that’s when the magic started to disappear.”
Signed as a Free Agent in Cleveland in 1987. Still showing that sense of humor and charm that won him Montreat College Homecoming King in 1974. “The best part of my times in Cleveland didn’t come on the mound. I made friendly with this old hot dog vendor who worked at the stadium since the 50′s, and that old guy used to leave his stand unlocked for me after games. I would climb in there and down all the day’s leftover dogs. On a homestand I could put away 70, 80 hot dogs if we were in town for 10 days. It saved me a lot of money back then, and I didn’t have to return to my offseason job as a picker-packer right after I retired.”
Stewart pictured in his luxurious office at Enka Middle school in North Carolina in 2oo4. Stewart is showing the photographer his arm motion that used to render hitters useless in the big leagues. Shortly after this picture was taken, Stewart helped a 7th grader un-jam his locker.
Stewart preparing for his comeback to the big leagues in January 2005, at the age of 51. “I’ve got gall stones, broken bones, gout, the beginning stages of COPD, and I lose the feeling in my right leg when I run more than about ten strides,” Stewart said upon being interviewed. “But I’ve got more heart in my ass cheek then most of the pitchers in the big leagues today, and I will become the oldest big leaguer to throw in a game. Jamie Moyer can kiss my ass!”
2006: Comeback attempt briefly stalled. Stewart was caught smoking crack out of the sawed off muffler of his 1978 Ford Cortina. “I loved that car. First thing I bought when I signed my big league contract. It was an import vehicle,” Stewart said. Mr. Stewart is pictured above in his ‘room’ at Buncombe Correctional Center in North Carolina. “But who needs a car. Look at all I have here, this ain’t so bad. I’ve got my Keds sailing shoes, my Carhartt jacket, and the only outfit I’ve owned in six years. All things considered things aren’t so bad. Besides, the bed is comfy and the view here is great.”
Present day. Stewart has been served his retirement papers by baseball, but won’t sign them. “I’ve used my one allowed phone call each day to call Peter Angelos and tell him I can help that team. Even at age 58, I can still pitch,” While on assignment, a reporter there to write about Stewart’s incarceration overheard Stewart pleading during a voice-mail message left for Orioles Owner Peter Angelos. Stewart was begging Angelos to become the Orioles mail sorter and then softened his stance before hanging up the prison phone and offered to water Angelos’ office plants. “I know I can help a young pitcher like Chris Tillman or Kevin Gausman. I have never told anyone how to throw the pube-ball. But if they can get me out of here and back on the diamond I’m willing to reveal my secrets.”
Stewart is now a habitual felon, and has spent 25 months in prison over six separate stints.
“It’s not that I’m a bad guy. But other than baseball, felonies were the next best thing I was great at doing.”