Moreover, no member of the A's has ever done more than Stewart for the local community. He's on the board of directors of the Oakland Boys Clubs. He helped raise capital to save the football program at his alma mater, St. Elizabeth High. He's a leader of Just Say No, an antidrug program. He works for Volunteers of America, an organization similar to the Salvation Army, and he sponsors eight youth baseball teams. "Some of them aren't playing too well—maybe I'll become a Steinbrenner," he says, without making clear whether he has in mind trading for new players or going to the free-agent market. Last winter he and a friend, Wornell Simpson, started Stewart's Corporations for Kids, a program that seeks to get large corporations involved in rebuilding neighborhoods. "The days of government financing are over," says Stewart, "so we have to rebuild ourselves. I provide all the legwork. With the exception of the day I pitch, I have plenty of time before I get to the park."
As long as Stewart has the ball, things will be looking up for the neighborhood—and for the neighborhood team.