Especially when looking at their years on the West Coast, Dave Stewart is easily one of the most important players in the history of the Oakland Athletics. But he’s not exactly feeling a lot of support from the team.

In 2019, it was announced that the A’s would retire Stewart’s No. 34 during the 2020 season. Those plans changed when COVID-19 truncated the season and forced what games were played to be in front of empty stadiums. But his number was not retired in 2021, either, as the fans came back.

On Tuesday, a fan jumped on Twitter to ask Stewart if the ceremony was still on and if so, when. Stewart’s response was baffling.

That had A’s fans, as well as others in the baseball world, quite upset.

This is confounding — on several levels.

For starters, Stewart is absolutely worthy of having his number retired in Oakland. He compiled a 119-78 record for the A’s, won 20 or more games every season from 1987 through 1990 and finished in the top four in American League Cy Young Award voting in every one of those seasons.

Stewart also shone when it counted most. Stewart was the Most Valuable Player in the 1989 World Series. He won two games in Oakland’s sweep of the San Francisco Giants. The following year, the A’s won the American League Championship Series over the Boston Red Sox in another sweep. Stewart won two games. To date, 1989 is the team’s last championship, while 1990 is their last pennant.

The series against either San Francisco or Boston would be a natural time to retire Stewart’s number. Or, since the A’s tend to draw better against those opponents than nearly anyone else, another option would be to leave those series alone and use Stewart’s jersey retirement as a way to draw fans to another game against a more “regular” opponent. It’s not like the A’s couldn’t use the extra fan support.

In addition to Stewart’s significant ties to the franchise’s most recent championship era, he’s also a hometown hero. Stewart was born and raised in Oakland.

And perhaps the most baffling element of all of this is Stewart’s relationship with the A’s. He is one of the hosts of Oakland’s pre and post-game shows on NBC Sports California. It’s not as though he’s some reclusive figure that the A’s would have a hard time getting in contact with.

None of this makes sense. Hopefully for the sake of Stewart and Oakland’s fans, this can get rectified.

Update: Daniel Brown of The Athletic writes that the A’s do in fact have plans for a Stewart jersey retirement ceremony this year:

We’ll see what happens there.

About Michael Dixon

Michael has a background in sports writing both online (Bleacher Report, Sportsnaut, Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks) and in print (Sedona Red Rock News, Brentwood Press). Sports have been a lifeline passion for Michael and he continues to enjoy writing and talking about them.