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Former Orioles pitcher Sammy Stewart died of heart disease, autopsy says

Sammy Stewart died in March at age 63.
Sammy Stewart died in March at age 63. (Nanine Hartzenbusch / Baltimore Sun)

Former Orioles pitcher Sammy Stewart died from hypertension and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, according to an autopsy report released Monday by the Henderson County, N.C., medical examiner.

Stewart, an affable North Carolinian who pitched for the Orioles from 1978 to 1985, died in March at age 63.

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The report said Stewart was found decomposing on his bed after not being seen for one to two weeks. A pathologist found evidence of head trauma, possibly from a reported altercation in January, but the report said the trauma “did not compress the brain and did not contribute to the cause of death.”

Former Orioles relief pitcher Sammy Stewart, who helped lead the team to its last World Series title in 1983 before personal tragedy and drug addiction derailed his life, was found dead Friday in Hendersonville, NC. He was 63.

Stewart had long struggled with addiction, and a postmortem toxicology screen found ethanol in his urine and brain tissue, suggesting alcohol use. The test found no cocaine or opiates in his system.

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Thirty years after he pitched for the Orioles in the World Series, Sammy Stewart is out of prison and free of a drug addiction that ruined his life for nearly two decades.

His death came 35 years after he delivered five scoreless relief appearances for the Orioles during the 1983 postseason, which culminated with the club’s most recent world championship. Even as his teammates remembered that season fondly, they mourned the loss of their friend, who had watched two children die from cystic fibrosis.

“It’s just a sad, sad situation,” pitcher Mike Boddicker said in March upon hearing of Stewart’s death. “Sammy had a lot of trials and tribulations in his life, and Sammy had a really great heart.”

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