Today is Matt Stairs 43rd birthday.
Matt, as you know, is a good Canadian boy. He played 2 seasons with the Jays and started his major league career with the Expos, long ago. Of his two years with the Jays, the first was terrific. He hit 21 home runs, 64 RBI, with a .289/.373/.549. The Jays signed him with the idea he could be a bench player but he got into 125 games playing first base, left and right field and a little DH.
The second season, he played a lot, especially after the Jays released Frank Thomas and he wasn't as successful. We traded him to the Phillies near the end of the season for Fabio Castro (who signed with the Mariners as a free agent this off-season). Matt had a big pinch hit home run for Philadelphia in their drive for the playoffs.
Matt has been a favorite of mine since seeing him years ago in Toronto when Matt was an Oakland A. Warming up between innings, Matt was throwing to a ball boy in front of us and he took the time to show the teenager how to throw properly, straight overtop instead of 3/4 so that his throws would go straight and not tail. I thought it was great the a major league player would spend the time to give a little lesson during a game.
Stairs signed with the Nationals back in December. I haven't heard if he has much chance of making the team, but I hope he makes it.
Happy Birthday, Matt. Hope it has been a good one.