High School Career
At Southridge High School in Southridge, Florida, Shannon Stewart was a three-sport standout in track, baseball, and football. As a senior, he was an All-Dade County selection in baseball. As a junior, he was an All-Dade County selection in football.
Shannon Stewart was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1st round (19th pick) of the 1992 amateur draft and made his debut on September 2, 1995. Shannon fluctuated between the Majors and minors over the next several seasons, eventually finding a place in the every day Blue Jay line up by the end of 1997.
Shannon was a catalyst at the top of the Toronto line-up, providing speed and base-stealing ability, as well as some power and clutch-hitting. In every season from 1999 to 2002, Shannon batted .300 or higher and scored over 100 runs. He also showed some unexpected power, belting 21 HRs in 2000.
Shannon was traded in 2003 to the Minnesota Twins for Bobby Kielty in a move designed to free money from the Blue Jays' payroll. Shannon, now in the thick of a pennant race, was suddenly cast into the limelight. Despite putting up numbers similar to those he had been posting in Toronto for the past four seasons, suddenly in a line-up which had lacked a true lead-off hitter for years, Shannon was largely credited for turning the Twins' season around. The Twins beat the Chicago White Sox in a closely fought pennant race but were defeated by the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series. Shannon finished 4th in American League MVP voting, a remarkable accomplishment for a lead-off hitter.
Nevertheless, Shannon has been criticized for his poor arm in the outfield and his dwindling aggression on the bases, largely as the result of continued hamstring injuries. Shannon is often seen as a liability in the field; opposing base runners frequently take bases they might not take if another fielder were playing his position.
- Career .302 AVG (21st among active players)
- Finished 4th in American League MVP voting (2003)
- 3rd in the American League in steals (1998, 51 steals)
- 4th in the Americal League in steals (1999, 37 steals)
- Shannon Stewart at: