Former major-league pitcher Sammy Stewart dies at 63

FILE - Sammy Stewart pitching for the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo credit: Orioles)

Former major-league pitcher Sammy Stewart, the “Throwin’ Swannanoan” who won a World Series with the Baltimore Orioles, has died at age 63.

Stewart’s body was found at a residence off Mountain Road in Hendersonville on Friday, according to Major Frank Stout with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office.

Major Stout said the medical examiner has requested an autopsy to determine cause of death.

A Swannanoa native who was a multi-sport star at Owen High, Stewart was a hard-throwing, hard-living right-hander who set a major-league record by striking out the first seven batters he faced in his major league debut in 1978.

He posted a 59-48 record in 10 major-league seasons with a 3.62 ERA and 42 saves. He pitched in two World Series with the Orioles, winning the world title in 1983, and didn’t allow a run in 12 postseason innings.

His post-baseball life was marred by drug addiction, arrests and time spent in prison.

From 1988-2006, he was arrested 46 times for more than 60 offenses and was sent to prison six times for a total of 25 months. In 2006 he pled guilty to a charge of being a habitual felon and was sentenced to six years in prison.

After being released in 2013, he lived in Hendersonville.

In a published interview in 2013, Stewart said he was living a “simple life” and teaching young boys how to pitch.

Police reports indicate Stewart had been arrested for trespassing and other charges in recent months.

Stewart had two children from his first marriage to Peggy Stewart. Son Colin died in 1991, and daughter Alicia died in 2016, both with complications from cystic fibrosis.

He had two other children from another relationship.

In a interview from jail shortly before he was sentenced to prison in 2006, Stewart talked about being a drug addict and the regrets he had for falling into a life of crime and drug abuse.

“I’m a crack addict, a drug addict, Stewart said. “I can’t explain to you how bad it feels to be walking down Tunnel Road with no home and no money and people look at you and say, ‘That’s Sammy Stewart. He used to be a famous ballplayer.

“I had it all, and now I have nothing. I’m a 51-year-old man in jail and begging for another chance.”

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