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06/28/08 10:05 PM ET

Stewart gets into Royals Hall of Fame

Royals scout signed Bo Jackson, Carlos Beltran and others

KANSAS CITY -- Art Stewart, a tracker of talent for more than 50 years, accepted his induction into the Royals Hall of Fame on behalf of all of baseball's scouts and player development personnel.

"These are truly the unsung heroes of baseball and the blood and the lifeline of any winning organization," Stewart said.

Stewart became the 23rd member of the Royals Hall of Fame on Saturday night before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. He was applauded by a packed house at Kauffman Stadium.

In his 39th season with the Royals, Stewart became a legendary scout, unearthing talent such as Bo Jackson, Brian McRae, Mike Sweeney, Johnny Damon, Joe Randa and Carlos Beltran. All of those players and others praised Stewart in video clips on the giant stadium screen.

The current Royals players formed a line of honor as Stewart walked onto the field on a blue carpet.

"Every player on the field tonight is here because of a vision of scout," general manager Dayton Moore told the crowd. "Art had that vision. His keen eye for talent, his expertise as a baseball man make him worthy of this great honor tonight. Art Stewart may be the very best ambassador the Kansas City Royals have ever seen. He has represented this organization with production, class and integrity in every city and every small town across this country."

For years, Stewart has been one of the Royals' most recognized figures in baseball circles. Fans see him nightly at his seat at Kauffman Stadium, charting pitches and evaluating talent. His enthusiasm for the game knows no bounds.

"Everything he has done in baseball, he's done with a bounce in his step and a glitter in his eye and a smile on his face," former general manager John Schuerholz said in his video.

Many Royals Hall of Famers joined Stewart for the occasion: Jeff Montgomery, Willie Wilson, John Mayberry, Hal McRae, Dennis Leonard, George Brett, Frank White, Paul Splittorff and emcee Denny Matthews. Also attending were the widows of Dan Quisenberry and Dick Howser.

Royals owner David Glass said: "People like Art Stewart don't come along very often. We're fortunate in the Royals organization to have him be part of our family for 39 years. He's truly made a difference and we wouldn't be who we are today or have achieved the success without his contributions."

A portrait of Stewart was unveiled for the future home of the Royals Hall of Fame at the renovated stadium.

"When president Dan Glass told me that I'd been elected to the Hall of Fame, I never dreamed that such an honor could be bestowed," Stewart said. "Because you think always of the players."

He added that at Yankee Stadium, you can see monuments to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, but nothing about the scouts who discovered them.

"But the Kansas City Royals did that first. They have recognized scouting and player development and that tells you the class of this organization," Stewart said.

Joining Stewart on the field were his daughter, Dawn Stewart Mansfield, her husband Brian and children David and Mark.

Not with him was his wife, Donna, who passed away on Feb. 23.

"She was a wonderful wife and mother and she loved the Royals, she loved baseball and she spent 47 years living the game and loving the game," Stewart said. "And I know she's up there waving Royal blue tonight."

In that spirit, Stewart made a promise to the crowd.

"The championship will be back in Kansas City," he said.

You can take the word of a wise, old scout.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.