As you loyal baseball fans are probably aware, the great Matthew Wade Stairs has announced his retirement1 from baseball. He closes the book on a big league career that began with a brief call-up to the Montreal Expos in 1992. After beginning this season with his thirteenth different team2, the 43-year old wonder is stepping out.
I don’t want to spend too much of your time outlining the moves in Stairs’s career – let’s just say that in the unlikely event he were inducted into the Hall of Fame, he’d go in with a cap resembling this one. Instead, let’s just make a bulleted list of awesome things about Matt Stairs:
- He hit .262/.356/.477 with 265 HR in his career, a line that would’ve earned him FAR more than his career earnings of $19 million if he’d had the sense to be born about 10 years later.
- Stairs is almost certainly the second best Canadian power hitter in major league history, falling short only of the amazing Larry Walker.
- After having a solid career as an everyday outfielder, he capitalized on his uncanny pinch-hitting ability to catch on as a bench player for years.
- He holds the major league record for pinch-hit homeruns.
- Stairs is the only player I’m aware of who openly admitted to just trying to hit a homerun every single time he batted.
- Not satisfied with merely ruining Broxton’s career and propelling the Phillies to victory, Stairs decided to test the limits of sports innuendo in the post-game press conference.
- His pinch-hit prowess and constant relocations earned him a reputation for being something of a hired gun off the bench. In turn, he became known by the outstanding, if simple, nickname “Matt Stairs: Professional Hitter.”
- His willingness to accept bench roles provided his teams with the luxury of a very strong bat to plug into the line-up in the event of injury to a regular player. Stairs’s ability to dull the pain of a lost starter in addition to his aforementioned pinch-hitting abilities spurred people to describe him using their favorite sign near elevators – “In case of emergency, use Stairs.”
- Finally, Matt Stairs did not put up with shenanigans. In a Yankees-Blue Jays game in which some doings were transpiring between Alex Rodriguez and the Blue Jays, Stairs took it upon himself to push through the Yankees and confront A-Rod on his own. Sorry, A-Rod, your nickname sucks and you’ll never get our support over the Professional Hitter.
Just to prove how Canadian he his, Matt Stairs plans to occupy his retirement by coaching hockey at his children’s high school in Maine. However, I will hold out hope that the Professional Hitter will decide he needs one last taste of the game and join Team Canada in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
1 I know sir, we’re all in denial.
2 This is a major league record. Yet, in an amazing feat of planning/coincidence, his career has managed to come full circle. By beginning his career with the Expos and ending it with the Nationals, he actually premiered and retired with the same franchise.
3 Stairs grew up in the not-especially-rural maritime city of Fredericton, New Brunswick. However, I’m American, so I’ve only heard of two Canadian cities (Toronto and Seattle) and assume everywhere else looks like this.
4 Distance approximated. I’ll bet you weren’t aware that the outfield stands at Dodger Stadium stretch over a quarter mile from home plate. Somewhere, Chris Berman was heard exclaiming that this one made it “clear to Sacramento.”