Vonte’s Voice – Joseph Stewart

On Sunday June 17, 2001, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Tony Womack came up to the plate with bases loaded and a heavy heart. It was Father’s Day and Womack had just lost his father two months prior. Womack had described his father as his best friend, so on that Sunday with bases loaded, Womack hit a grand slam for his best friend. As he rounded the bases you could see the intense emotion of that particular situation. When he stepped on home plate, he was swarmed by his team and he put his head down to wipe the tears away. It was a very powerful moment for Womack, the team, and the fans. In one moment, everyone came together and understood as a whole community the unifying power of baseball.

Joe Stewart, left, and LaVonte Stewart, right, with the inaugural team of Lost Boyz Inc.

Joe Stewart, left, and LaVonte Stewart, right, with the inaugural team of Lost Boyz Inc.

It is not only in Major League games we see this unifying power. We see it too in the people who fight for baseball at every level because they love the game so much and want to see it be enjoyed by everyone. This is true of Joseph Stewart, a co-founder of our Chicago partners Lost Boyz Inc. Joe Stewart was a star pitcher in high school, but was unable to move on to the next level because he was shot and paralyzed. Rather than become bitter, he used his baseball knowledge and began coaching. Eventually he  co-founded Lost Boyz Inc. with LaVonte Stewart and became the Commissioner of the program. Baseball was a source of healing for Joe Stewart and he hoped to pass that healing power onto the kids of Lost Boyz Inc.

After two leg amputations and health issues, Joe Stewart lost his life this past month. His good friend and brother in baseball, LaVonte Stewart tells the story of a brave man and baseball in a post entitled “Dear Joe…” on the Lost Boyz Inc. website. It is an incredibly inspiring story and one which Experience Baseball thinks should be heard. It is people like Joe and stories like his that make us want to share the power of baseball.

 

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