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Take a left on Matt Stairs Way

Nov 30, 2009, 11:02 AM EDT

Thanks to the curly mullet, the swing-from-his-heels approach and the big postseason homer in Philly last year, Matt Stairs would be awesome even if he didn’t have a street named after him.  Now, however, he has a street named after him:

On Saturday, the free-agent rightfielder, who played for the
Phillies the past two seasons, had a street named after him in his
hometown of Fredericton in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. And not just any street. The road that runs alongside Royal Field Park – the place Stairs first played professionally – has been renamed Matt Stairs Way.

“Royals Field . . . that’s one of the most special ones I’ve ever
been in,” Stairs told the Canadian Broadcasting Centre News. “One, it’s
in my hometown. Two, it’s where I was scouted, where I was signed. It’s
a home inside of a home city. And now, just to have a street named
around it is a great honor.”

I can’t think of a player I like more than Stairs. He’s all kinds of awesome packed into such an unassuming package. Stairs is one of the great “coulda beens” in baseball history. Sometimes I wonder what kind of damage Stairs would have done to major league pitching had the Expos not decided to try and make a second baseman out of him, which basically delayed his big league career until he was 29. If someone had stuck the guy at first or DH at age 23 or 24 and who knows what he would have done?

Sadly, it doesn’t look like the Phillies are interested in bringing him back for 2010. Not sure if anyone else will either (we’ll probably have to wait until the last possible minute before spring training to find out).  But even if he never plays another inning, we’ll always have our memories of the guy, and Stairs will always have his street.

  1. APBA Guy - Nov 30, 2009 at 12:05 PM

    Craig, welcome to your first full day day of blogging-only employment.
    Around the Bay Area, Stairs was known as the Wonder Hamster, a name affectionately bestowed on him by the right field fans at the Mausoleum who watched him play in the late 90’s.
    Starting in 1996 with a .914 OPS, he had his career year in 1997 at .968. He followed with two more years at near .900, and two years later the A’s let him go as his salary escalated beyond that which they were willing to pay.
    I will never forget meeting him briefly during the on-field fanfests, where he always was pleasant, polite, modest, and kept things moving professionally.
    A lot of us out here kept track of him, and felt more than a little pleasure when he’d pull a .917 out of the hat like in 2007 with Toronto, at age 39.
    A career of 5000 AB’s and .839 is something to be proud of.

  2. Linda - Nov 30, 2009 at 1:08 PM

    Agree completely – as a lifetime Phils fan, this guy was made to play here – messy, down-home, hard working, good guy. Unfortunately production and age got him caught in a numbers game -Phils most likely won’t have him back — but you couldn’t find a better bench/”guide young talent” guy to pick up at a bargain price (Jamie Moyer anyone?). He deserves all the hometown accolates heaped upon him.

  3. Dr Paisley - Dec 1, 2009 at 12:42 AM

    I always loved watching Stairs play when he was with the Royals. His baserunning was always a sight to behold, best described as “a dumptruck losing its brakes while parked on an incline. Eventually it’ll go pretty fast, but it will take a while for it to get up to speed.” A well-deserved honor to a fine player.

  4. Joe - Dec 1, 2009 at 2:26 PM

    Matt Stairs’ awesomeness is further enhanced by the fact that he coaches high school hockey in Bangor, Maine during the off season.

  5. Xavier Donaghue - Jan 31, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    Excellent read! I enjoy your site very much.

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