PHILADELPHIA — Once upon a time, back in the late 1980s when you were much younger, thinner and had your whole future in front of you, the Montreal Expos had a base-stealing third/second baseman named Matt Stairs. He was a hockey player from St. John, New Brunswick who left high school for Canada’s National Baseball Institute in Vancouver, not exactly a hot bed for baseball talent, but it was a chance for Stairs to travel around the globe and play ball.
By 1988, Stairs was a member of the Canadian Olympic team and then signed as an undrafted free agent with the Expos. Twenty-three years later, in Washington, D.C., Stairs’ baseball life has seemingly come full circle. The Washington Nationals, the latest incarnation of the Montreal Expos, designated Stairs for assignment. At age 43 after playing for 13 different major league teams, Stairs could be at the end of his playing career.
That’s a big could, of course. This past April Stairs said he wants to keep on playing until the phone stops ringing and teams no longer call. After that, he wants to keep on coaching hockey in Bangor, Maine and maybe even coach or manage in the big leagues.
But that’s only if no team wants a power hitting lefty for the bench.
Certainly Stairs catching on with some team remains a possibility, but in the meantime there are a few things to think about when putting his career in perspective. For instance:
- 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. In fact, during the 1991 season when he was playing for Double A Harrisburg, Stairs was the Eastern League MVP when he hit 30 doubles, 10 triples, 13 homers and 23 stolen bases.