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Stewart’s latest work on western Pa. quarterbacks

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Author Wayne Stewart, left, talks with NFL Hall of Famer and Monongahela native Joe Montana. Stewart wrote his latest book, America's Cradle of Quarterbacks, about Montana, Dan Marino, Joe Namath, Jim Kelly, George Blanda and Johnny Unitas.
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Author Wayne Stewart

As author Wayne Stewart was looking for an idea for his next book, his agent gave him one.

How about writing about the great NFL quarterbacks from western Pennsylvania?

The Donora native, who has written approximately 30 sports books, went to work researching his next project.

What he found out was very intriguing.

“Of the 23 modern-era quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, six of them came from a 60-mile radius of Pittsburgh,” Stewart said. “That’s over 25 percent. How can that be? That’s phenomenal.”

And so, Stewart, who lives in Amherst, Ohio, spent the year writing his book, America’s Cradle of Quarterbacks.

The book is a story about the six greatest quarterbacks to come out of western Pennsylvania, Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas, George Blanda, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino and Joe Montana.

The book explores the conditions found in a small area that has produced a disportionate number of the greatest quarterbacks to play in the NFL.

The 188-page book is full of stats and personal information on the subjects, as well as interviews with many local people who played a role in their lives.

Among the local people mentioned or quoted in the book are Jeff Petrucci, Scott and Paul Zolak, Ulice Payne, Arnold and Bernie Galiffa, Rudy Andabaker, Dan Towler, Paul Timko, Chuck Abramski, Tom Caudill and David Sarkus.

A retired teacher who said he was forced to leave the Mid-Mon Valley after he graduated from California University in 1973, Stewart should be no stranger to readers of The Valley Independent.

Stewart has written professionally since 1978 when he began writing for national publications such as Baseball Digest, USA Today Baseball Weekly, a Hall of Fame newsletter and Beckett publications. He also wrote for several newspapers and worked for a small radio station in northeast Ohio where he had a call-in sports talk show, a pre-game show for the Cleveland Indians, and a Notre Dame football pre-game show.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows as a baseball historian, including an appearance on an ESPN Classic show on Bob Feller.

During the spring and summer, he pens the weekly “Mon Valley Sports Memories” column that runs in The Valley Independent.

One of his previous books is an autobiography of Donora legend Stan Musial. Other books of notable interest include The History of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Fathers, Sons and Baseball.

The new book is being sold on several websites, including Amazon.com, and is expected to hit some bookstores soon. It sells for $15.95.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or [email protected].

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