While sitting here with the kids on a day where I don't have to drive to the ballpark and instead get to watch The Backyardigans and trip over Legos, I did a little Google search of our favorite all-time pinch hitter and came up with a tasty nugget from the great Joe Posnanski...
During his career Stairs has played for 11 different teams and bashed 256 careeer home runs. Last season Stairs passed another ex-Phillie, Todd Zeile, when he cracked homer No. 254 to give him the most homers amongst players who have played for 10-or-11 teams.
Now here's the interesting part - what if Stairs would have come up in a proper position rather than as a second baseman?
Yeah, that's right... Stairs was a second baseman who swiped bases in the minor-league system for the Expos. Could you imagine Stairs playing second base now?
But what if he had been an outfielder from the jump? None other than Bill James, the godfather of statistical analysis, suggests that Stairs could be winding down a Hall of Fame career:
Look at it. Somebody decided he was a second baseman, he tears through the minor leagues, gets to Montreal, the Expos take one look at him and say, 'He's no second baseman, get real.' He bounces around, goes to Japan, doesn't really get to play until he's almost 30, then hits 38 homers, slips into a part-time role and hits 15-20 homers every year for 10 years in about 250 at-bats a season. ... You put him in the right park, right position early in his career ... he's going to hit a LOT of bombs.
Moreover, James also dug up this:
Stairs's career numbers are essentially the same as Reggie Jackson's (.262, .356, .490). All of his numbers trump those of Roger Maris. Other players with comparable numbers include Bobby Bonds, Frank Howard, Dwight Evans, Dale Murphy and Greg Luzinski. Nobody confuses those ballplayers with the ordinary.
Matt Stairs in the Hall of Fame? Maybe it could have happened.