Dave Stewart wanted to quit baseball. Dusty Baker took it out for “A”

Before coming off four straight 20-win seasons, leading his hometown team to a world title and becoming an icon of community support after the 1989 earthquake – before all that was remotely possible, Dave Stewart needed some encouraging words.

Dusty Baker was there for him.

Stewart’s roots in Auckland run deep. This is where he grew up, pumping life into his stalled Major League career and where Oakland Athletics will retire the number 34 shirt on Sunday, Before their match against the Chicago White Sox at the Colosseum.

It’s easy to remember Stewart standing on top of a hill in the late ’80s and early ’90s, staring at the opposition of the hitters before returning them to the dugout. He established a solid starting spin, which completed a loaded lineup (José Canseco, Mark McGuire and finally Ricky Henderson) and propelled the A’s to three consecutive World Championships.

More than 30 years later, it’s easy to forget Stewart’s struggles before helping head coach Tony La Russa and shooting coach Dave Duncan revive his career. Stewart, after a promising start with the Dodgers, went 12-22 in over two years in Texas and barely made during a short layover in Philadelphia.