Just weeks after celebrating his 90th birthday, legendary Royals scout Art Stewart began his 65th year in professional baseball here at spring training.
On Monday, he joined Kansas City Star columnist Vahe Gregorian and myself for a conversation about his first 64 years in baseball, his days cleaning the bleachers at Wrigley Field as a child in Chicago, and his role in helping the Royals sign Bo Jackson.
There is also a bonus story about a baseball scout, a top prospect in Wisconsin and a wooden leg.
“Being in baseball,” Stewart said, “I tell [Royals general manager] Dayton [Moore]: As long as I can still contribute, and as long as I still have that same desire that I still have … I still go out and see some of the top players. I still enjoy that as much as I ever did. Because that’s the lifeline of baseball. Everybody thinking that you may come into the ballpark and find another Bo Jackson.’”
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Stewart, who is a member of the Royals Hall of Fame, began his career in professional baseball in 1953 as a territorial scout for the New York Yankees and was the Midwest Scouting Supervisor from 1958-69. He then joined the expansion Royals franchise and spent 16 years as a scout in the Midwest before joining the front office. For the last 15 years, he has been special adviser to the general manager. Stewart has drafted over 70 players who have reached the major leagues, including Bo Jackson, Kevin Appier, Brian McRae, Mike Sweeney, Johnny Damon, and Carlos Beltran.