Story submitted by Brad Kirtley-Austin Peay State University Sports Information
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Jimmy Stewart, the former Austin Peay State University baseball great who was a member of the University’s first athletic Hall of Fame class and enjoyed a 10-year major league baseball career, died Saturday in Tampa, Fla.
A former Govs third baseman/shortstop, Steward was inducted into the APSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1978-79 along with George Fisher, Halbert Harvill, Dick Hays, Tom Morgan, Stella Schupp and broadcaster Earl Walton a year after Dave Aaron was the lone inductee when the Hall of Fame was initiated in 1977-78.
In the pre-1970s, Stewart owned the program’s highest single-season batting average when he hit .435 in 1961; he finished with a .369 career mark. As a senior, he was named All-Volunteer State Athletic Conference (VSAC) after he captained the Govs to an 11-4 record.
But Stewart was a multi-sport star. He was named All-VSAC in basketball during 1961, averaging 10.4 ppg and All-Regional in the NCAA South Central tournament after leading the Governors to a 22-9 record.
In track, he held the school record in 220-yard dash (22.6) for many years. The Opelika, Ala., native was named recipient of the Joy Award in 1961 as Austin Peay’s most valuable senior athlete.
After college, Stewart strictly concentrated on baseball, where he played for the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros from 1963–1973.
Stewart came up with the Cubs as a middle infielder in 1963. He was purchased from the Cubs by the Chicago White Sox during the 1967 season. After playing in their minor league system for two seasons, he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds from the White Sox in the 1968 Rule 5 draft.
On Nov. 29, 1971, Stewart was part of a famous trade that brought future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, César Gerónimo, Ed Armbrister, Jack Billingham, and Denis Menke to the Reds from the Houston Astros for Stewart, Lee May and Tommy Helms.
After his playing days, Stewart served as a longtime scout, including 11 years back with the Reds.
According to reports, he played a major role in the trades that built the Reds’ 1990 world championship team, including those that brought the Reds Danny Jackson and Jose Rijo, anchors of that staff.
He’s also was credited with writing the scouting report on Oakland before the 1990 World Series that convinced Reds manager Lou Piniella that the Reds would upset the A’s.
Funeral services will be held in both Florida and Alabama. Check back at letsgopeay.com here for details about the arrangements.
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