Bolles retires baseball star DJ Stewart’s number 1 jersey

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – DJ Stewart figured there would be some emotions when he arrived at the Bolles School campus to have his number retired at Hugh Donovan Field, but he wasn’t prepared for the wave of nostalgia that hit him as it took the microphone from baseball coach Mike Boswell.

Stewart, who starred on the football field and the baseball diamond for Bolles, choked up when he thought about his journey from Yulee to Bolles to Florida State and finally to the big leagues.

“When I head Woods talking, it all hit me,” Stewart said. “I couldn’t even remember what I was going to say.”

Stewart joins legendary Bolles baseball coach Don Suriano, Baseball Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, and former big league catcher Rick Wilkins as the only men to have their number’s retired at Bolles’ baseball field.

The number one jersey will still be worn, at least for the next three seasons.

“My brother (Keegan) is actually wearing (number) one until he graduates, so to see him out there playing the same game that I did–he was on the other side of the fence when I was playing, running around and now to see him out here, it really means a lot to me,” Stewart said.

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DJ and Keegan had a moment on the field as the elder Stewart threw out the ceremonial first pitch the current Bolles number one.

Stewart, who played 100 games for the Baltimore Orioles last season, his fourth in the big leagues. He became the fourth player from Bolles to reach the Major Leagues when he made his debut with Baltimore in 2018. He followed Rick Wilkins, Chipper Jones, and Austin Slater to reach the big leagues.

As a high school athlete, Stewart won five state titles, three in football (2008, 2009, 2011) and two in baseball (2009, 2010). He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 28th round in 2012 but opted to go to Florida State where he twice earned All-American honors as well as a pair of Academic All-America nods. In 2015, he was the Orioles first-round pick, 25th overall.

It was legendary Bolles football coach Corky Rogers who brought Stewart to Bolles. Monday night, while Stewart thanked his family and Boswell, it was Rogers who was on his mind.

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“I wish he was here,” Stewart said. “The things that he taught me that I can use in everyday life, not just sports…he’s the one who actually gave me that number in my first year of football. So to wear that and kind of be cemented in Bolles history, here with him really means a lot.”

Rogers passed away on Feb. 26, 2020.

Stewart credited his time at Bolles for the success he had at Florida State, both athletically and academically.

“The career I had at Florida State, that was kind of molded by what I was able to learn here at Bolles,” Stewart said. “Like you said, two-time Academic All American, that’s not possible without the academics here at Bolles. There’s no school like it.”

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