Today is Matt Stairs’ 55th birthday.
Matt, as you know, is Canadian. He was born in St. John New Brunswick. He played two seasons with the Blue Jays and started his major league career with the Expos in 1992.
Of his two years with the Jays, the first was terrific. He hit 21 home runs, and 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.
In his second season, he played more, especially after the Jays released Frank Thomas, and Matt wasn’t as successful. We traded him to the Phillies near the end of the season for Fabio Castro. Castro never played for us.
Matt had a big pinch-hit home run for Philadelphia in their drive for the playoffs in 2008. He played for the Phillies in 2009. He would play for the Padres and Nationals the next two seasons, retiring after the 2011 season at age 44.
Stairs played 19 seasons, hitting .262/.356/.477 with 265 home runs in 1895 games. He played for 12 different MLB teams. As a result, he must have quite a collection of jerseys.
Matt is number 3 among Canadian baseball players in home runs and games played.
Stairs has been a favourite of mine since seeing him years ago in Toronto when Matt was with the Oakland A’s. Warming up between innings, Matt was throwing to a ball boy in front of us. He showed the teenager how to throw correctly, straight over the top instead of 3/4, so his throws would go straight and not tail. I thought it was great a major league player would spend the time to give a little lesson during a game.
Happy Birthday, Matt. I hope it is a good one.
It is also Cliff Politte’s birthday. He turns 49 today.
Cliff was a right-handed reliever who had a 9-year MLB career. He spent two seasons with the Blue Jays after trading Dan Plesac to the Phillies to get him early in 2002.
In his two seasons as a Jay, he had a 4.56 ERA, pitching in 109 games.
In total, he played in 330 games, starting 16. He had a 4.40 ERA. 22-23 record with 15 saves.
Happy Birthday, Cliff.