Right-handed Sammy Stewart had a unique statistical anomaly of leading the American League in earned run average (2.32) in 1981 while primarily working out of the bullpen. The year may trigger memories since it was strike-shortened and statistically adjusted to compensate for lost time.
Stewart went just 4-8 in that season and managed three starts, but his record was symptomatic of his career bouncing between rotation and bullpen with limited success.
Stewart was grabbed from Baltimore in a trade that sent Jackie Gutierrez southward. Stewart would assume the role that he had semi-refined in Baltimore for eight seasons, but was relegated strictly to the bullpen and omitted from spot starter duty.
My memories of Stewart and the 1986 season were related to the drama not on the field but off the field. The O’s became aware that Gutierrez had emotional issues and attempted to nullify the trade. Stewart was rather vocal in that he had already become a temporary Bostonian and had relocated. The trade stood but there was more.
Stewart and Red Sox manager John McNamara were at loggerheads during the season and Stewart eventually was omitted from the playoffs. Stewart was quite outspoken about Johnny Mac as the deciding factor in costing the Red Sox a World Series. I have to agree with Stewart who was finished in Boston after a 4-4 season.
Stewart moved on to the Indians for one more season before retiring in 1987, but then came a tragic finish. Stewart had issues with Alcohol while with the O’s including pulling 18-month probation for a DUI. Post career the substance abuse magnified into cocaine and a lengthy prison stay and a series of family tragedies complicated Stewart’s life even more. Stewart passed away in 2018 at age 63.