Sail On, Jamestown Expo

Matt Stairs is telling people he’s retiring from MLB. Stairs has enjoyed a long and productive career, including one of the most famous home runs in the game’s history. He was not an Expo (or a third baseman) for long, but quickly established himself as a professional hit man.

Matt Stairs played only briefly for the Expos (Montreal produced an enormous number of ridiculous hitters during the time Stairs was coming through the system) but he hung around the majors for damn near 20 years.

I followed Stairs career from the beginning, 1989. I was a diehard Expos fan so would follow the draft each season and then the period where they signed a bunch of kids and sent them to (short-season) A Ball. If they were any good, these young men would end up playing extended A ball and then move up the ladder.

Stairs found his way to West Palm as 1989 wore on, playing with future MLB players like Wil Cordero and Greg Colbrunn (I recall Colbrunn was a big time prospect, but he suffered an injury along the way–don’t remember what type but maybe a shoulder).

Anyway, the Expos were loaded in the OF during that time (when he made his mlb debut, the Montreal outfield was Marquis Grissom in center, Moises Alou in left and Larry Walker in right) so he didn’t get much of a look in Montreal. No matter, he and his bat would play longer than any of the three OF’s blocking him in 1992. The Nationals released him this week–fitting, the Nationals released all of us Expos fans too.

I have a Matt Stairs story for you. Many years ago–this would have been late 80′s or maybe 1990–my wife and I flew to Cancun for a winter vacation. Cancun is beautiful, and fun! We were out late one night and had much too much of whatever we were drinking. We got back to the hotel at maybe 2 in the morning and we’re both all in.

We get ready for bed, and just before I turn off the lights there’s time for a quick trip around the tv channels. On the Spanish station, there is something called SUPER CADENA (Caribbean World Series) and damned if it isn’t Matt Stairs at the plate. I watched the entire game. Three hours of “turn it off” followed by “in a minute.” I slept all the next day, but she’s still with me. :-) Stairs had a great game iirc, ripped a double and his side won the game. It took forever to play, but I remember that game pretty well considering time of day and alcohol consumed. It was worth watching.

Sail on, Matt Stairs. You were a beauty.

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